Some PML-N leaders in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and their allies may be more than willing to send the PTI’s coalition government packing. However, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi does not seem interested in materializing the hostile takeover plan. Since the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister at the hands of the Supreme Court in the Panama gate case on July 28, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman held numerous meetings with Sharif on the one-point agenda – to topple the KP government – according to credible sources in the government.
After the arrival of Abbasi at the PM house, the JUI-F top leader is also said to have met him several times to press the new premier to play his role in ousting the PTI-led coalition government from power. However, neither Sharif nor the new premier have reportedly warmed up to Fazl’s idea to outnumber the ruling coalition in the KP Assembly with the help of ‘likeminded’ parties, like the QWP, ANP, independents and some dissidents of the PTI and the JI.
A source close to the prime minister said: ‘PML-N’s KP president and PM’s Adviser Ameer Muqam, and general-secretary and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Murtaza Abbasi are also in favor of toppling the coalition government in KP and getting it replaced with the PML-N government. Sensing the gravity of the situation, Abbasi convened a party meeting of its KP chapter at the PM House and made it clear that neither the PML-N leadership nor he (Abbasi) had any ambitious plans in KP.
The delegation of MPAs from KP was headed by Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha. It also included central leaders from KP including Murtaza Abbasi, PM’s Aviation Adviser Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, Ameer Muqam and Federal Minister for Narcotics Lt-Gen (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi. A press release issued by the PM House said that the overall situation of the province, developmental projects and issues being faced by the people of the province were discussed during the meeting. ‘The PML-N government at the federal level firmly believes in socio-economic development of the people across the country regardless of any political consideration.
‘The federal government has always supported democratic principles with an aim to bring about qualitative change in the lives of the people of the country,’ the statement quoted Abbasi as telling the delegation. He ‘advised’ the elected members to reach out to people and play their roles in redressing local issues.
A source in the PML-N’s KP chapter said: ‘PM Abbasi will personally assure K-P Chief Minister PervaizKhattak of the federal government’s complete support to the provincial government during the upcoming meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to be held on August 28. ‘The prime minister has discretionary funds at his disposal – he can oblige anyone with the provision of funds, grants, development schemes and all that – and if the premier is bent on changing loyalties of the lawmakers to topple a government, the consequences are not difficult to imagine,’ the insider said.
Certain PML-N circles hold the PTI leadership responsible for Sharif’s ouster and believe that the federal government should pay the party back by toppling its government in KP. JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, when approached, did not directly confirm or deny the reported plans to topple the PTI government. ‘The provincial government is so negligent and people are so fed up with it that they will overthrow this government by themselves without our help.’ Fazl claimed that the majority of members in the coalition government were in contact with him and ‘he can topple the provincial government anytime’. He did not further comment on the issue.—TNS