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Is Minister Pervez Khattak Planning To Ditch PM Imran?

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak has said that he could overthrow Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in a day.
He expressed these views while addressing a gathering in his native village, Manki Sharif on Saturday.

The minister said that he was capable of toppling the PTI government, but he would refrain from doing so because he is indebted to the PM for various things.

Further, Khattak said that he was fighting ‘on all fronts’ across the country and looks out for all members of the assembly. The defence minister then referred to a candidate he is supporting for a provincial assembly seat in Nowshehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and lamented that all opposition parties and his relatives have joined forces against the candidate. He however vowed to defeat them ‘one-by-one’, adding that he allowed his relatives in Manki Sharif to provide employment opportunities and carry out development projects. In an apparent reference to the same relatives, Khattak said that those who got their powers from him were now ‘flying high’. “But they will fall as soon as I take back these powers from them,” the minister warned.

Damage control

Although the minister’s statement was clear and did not appear as a case of slip of tongue, he stated that he said he was indebted to PM Imran Khan for his support and that his remarks were misinterpreted.

Pervez Khattak’s remarks have generated debate over whether PM Imran Khan’s close aide is suggesting he will ditch him. For context, it is worth recalling that sources had confirmed Khattak did not want the defence ministry when the PTI formed government in 2018. Instead of heading a powerless ministry, Khattak wanted to continue as chief minister in KP. However, Imran Khan had different plans for him.

In spite of the ‘clarification’, Pervez Khattak’s recent aggression against his own party’s government and the message that he is closer to the opposition parties because he always satisfies them is significant especially given the timing of this statement. At a time when the United opposition is mulling over moving a no confidence motion against PM Imran Khan, Pervez Khattak reminding the PM of his [Khattak’s] good ties with the opposition might mean the minister is suggesting that he will be an ideal choice as PM in case there is an in-house change. His name would often do the rounds every time there were rumours of an in house change.


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