PESHAWAR: The tussle between Imran Khan and Pervaiz Khattak finally surfaced as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman took exception to the maiden meeting of the party’s parliamentary committee called by the former chief minister here reportedly to win support of the newly elected lawmakers in his favour while lobbying for chief minister’s office.
The meeting in Peshawar was attended by around 30 PTI lawmakers. However, later they got worried about their future when they realised that Pervaiz Khattak in fact called the meeting without knowledge of the PTI leadership.
“Imran Khan took exception to this unexpected parliamentary committee meeting in Peshawar and immediately informed his close circles to approach all the newly-elected lawmakers of the party that the PTI had not called any such meeting,” a senior PTI office-bearer told The News on condition of anonymity.
He said all the PTI lawmakers were contacted by the party’s senior leadership and were informed about Imran Khan’s message. The PTI leadership circulated the following text message to all the parliamentarians-elect: “Dear PTI elected MNAs and MPAs, please be informed that no meeting of the parliamentary committee has been convened today (Monday) by the PTI. As and when such a meeting is convened, you will be informed by the chairman secretariat accordingly.”
According to PTI sources, Pervaiz Khattak faced a major embarrassment when he and Asad Qaiser started lobbying for the KPK CM’s slot. Another embarrassment was of calling the PTI parliamentary committee meeting without consent of the top leadership. “I wish he had followed party discipline and obeyed directives of the PTI leadership. Today he embarrassed himself and the MPAs-elect by secretly convening the party’s parliamentary committee meeting to build his support,” said a PTI leader.
Pervaiz Khattak realised the gravity of the issue when most of the MPAs-elect after receiving messages from Banigala disappeared, and to clarify matters he held a press conference to express his commitment with the party. “I will do whatever the party chairman wants me to,” he told the newspersons after his attempt to seek support of lawmakers and create kind of a pressure group in the party, flopped.
According to well-placed sources in the PTI, Imran Khan had held a detailed discussion with Pervaiz Khattak a day earlier in which he informed him of his future agenda and then told him that he was needed at the Centre. Pervaiz Khattak , according to insiders, told Imran Khan he has the support of the majority of MPAs-elect and therefore he should be allowed to stay in KP.
“After the meeting with Pervaiz Khattak , Imran Khan tasked his two close aides, Jehangir Tareen and Asad Umar, to meet Pervaiz Khattak and convince him to stop his insistence over the chief minister slot They met Pervaiz Khattak and made it clear to him that Imran Khan is the party leader and only he is supposed to take such decisions,” a senior PTI office-bearer told The News oncondition of anonymity.
Some party sources said the two PTI leaders even offered the former chief minister senior positions such as president, speaker of the National Assembly or a ministry of his choice in the Centre if he stopped his demand for the chief minister. However, according to sources Khattak didn’t agree and insisted that he would stay in KP to lead the PTI government as the chief minister. Khattak also claimed that the majority of the PTI lawmakers wanted him to be the chief minister.
According to the PTI sources, Imran Khan later called former provincial information minister Shah Farman to meet Pervaiz Khattak and warn him that his actions would cause damage to him. “Shah Farman not only conveyed Imran Khan’s warning, but told briefed him about of the sensitivity of the situation,” said the PTI leader privy to the party affairs.
Shah Farman is the party's trouble-shooter. In 2013 when Pervaiz Khattak and Asad Qaiser launched a similar campaign and locked horns over the chief minister’s slot, it was Shah Farman and a few other people who resolved the problem.
One PTI MPA-elect, who didn’t attend the meeting convened by Pervaiz Khattak on Monday, commented that if Imran Khan is not able to appoint a provincial chief minister, then how could we expect him to make Naya Pakistan’.
According to sources close to Imran, the PTI chief would announce the new chief minister KP within two days. “The new chief minister could be Atif Khan as he is the only PTI leader who has neither demanded nor launched any campaign for this position,” a PTI leader said. He added Imran could also give a surprise by appointing a new person as the chief minister.