Video: Is Jahangir Tareen Group Aiming To Topple PTI Government?
The other day, Jahangir Tareen while speaking to media outside Lahore High Court denied reports of a forward bloc or split in PTI but confirmed that a group of electables from PTI was supporting him.
Does that ring the alarm bells for Imran Khan? In Khabar Say Aagay,an online show of Naya Daur TV, panelists discussed the challenges and implications for both the Jahangir Khan Tareen (JKT) group and the PTI. Moderating the discussion, Raza Rumi said that this was a formidable split, given the “forces” that are at work and the historical precedents especially in the Punjab. Murtaza Solangi commented on how deep were the frustrations of those who were part of the PTI camp while questioning whether accountability standards would be applied fairly in Rawalpindi Ring Road scam.
Electables are dissatisfied with party policies since their narrative was ignored and concerns were not addressed. They complain that they cannot go to their constituencies because of skyrocketing inflation and lack of development funds that usually keep elected officials happy.
On the other hand, the group could pose challenges to Imran Khan government on multiple fronts making it harder to run the country. For instance, the government might not be able to pass the upcoming budget without its support which is unlikely to be unconditional. The group would seek concessions but how far will the undeterred PM go remains to be seen? But could Tareen go as far to topple the government if concerns instead kept worsening? PTI’s estranged Jahangir Tareen could pose severe financial constraints for PTI in next elections given his reputation as “PTI’s ATM”, says Solangi implying that PTI would have to struggle much harder than before.
There is a popular impression that party splits and forward blocs – not a new phenomenon in Punjab – are backed by the establishment, says Ahmed Waleed. Raza Rumi recalls how the Unionist Party of Punjab overnight moved from its anti-Pakistan to pro-Pakistan stance. The party supported Congress and enjoyed majority in Punjab as opposed to PML when Pakistan was created. It was submerged later on owing to the broader political schemes of Ayub and Mirza. Similarly, Nawaz Sharif had to face a rebellion from within his party in 1990s.
Raza Rumi adds that JKT group’s formation is not the first of such political developments and there were similar forces, machinations at work in 2021. On that account, it appears the group poses a relatively greater challenge to PTI government in Punjab – to “dummy CM” – than Imran Khan’s federal government. That should rule out speculations on whether the government would be toppled; unless the establishment backs the camp of the disgruntled.
The other day as Jahangir Tareen spoke outside LHC, he condemned “acts of revenge” by Punjab government. While the group may demand change in Punjab, IK has another challenge: the PML-Q
If Buzdar goes, as Pervaiz Ilahi conveyed, they are out unless Khan considers Ilahi for CM which seems unlikely as it would only multiply internal differences within the PTI. As far as PML-N is concerned, its senior leaders would refrain from actively seeking a change or regaining Punjab while IK remains PM. In the days to come, JKT group might evolve as a joint venture attracting electables from North and Central Punjab. PTI party rhetoric and retaliatory measures aimed at seeking revenge against those who join Tareen’s camp might distance the disgruntled members further, pushing them to become more aggressive bloc or a party.
In this scenario, it will be a different ball game as displeased members from other parties could join in and new alliances might be formed. It will change the politics of Pakistan.
“Game is on”, says Solangi, and ‘things could get out of control’.