Abdul Aleem Khan, a close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Punjab minister, announced on Monday that he would join a group of parliamentarians led by party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen.
His announcement came after group members gathered in Tareen’s Lahore residence as the opposition pushed ahead with plans to express no confidence in the government.
MPA Khurram Leghari, Abdul Hai Dasti, Lala Tahir Randhawa, Salman Naeem, Aslam Bharwana, Saeed Nawani, Zawar Hussain, Bilal Warraich, Amin Chaudry, Qasim Langah, as well as State Minister Nauman Langrial, Ajmal Cheema, were also participants.
Khan said in a media talk that Tareen, who is currently in London for treatment, played a huge role in PTI’s rise to power.
He said Tarin is currently in the worst health possible, adding that the group held a meeting at his home to send him a “not forgotten” message.
He repeated that Tarin played a decisive role in the party’s history, and later lamented his exclusion.
“Many people [within the party] I don’t understand why this happened. Why was everyone who worked for Pakistan with the prime minister ignored? There is no answer to this,” he said.
“Once a government is formed, other people surround the leader,” he added, adding that “committed and loyal” workers were pushed aside.
He said he would not have been discouraged if the party had grown in popularity, but he said there was growing concern among members and loyalists about the government’s performance in Punjab.
“All of us who were part of Terrik And it was serious. Let’s all unite on one platform.” He also said he had met more than 40 MPAs in the past four days, all expressing concerns about the Punjab government.
“I will work to unite all groups within PTI,” he added.
“PTI belongs to all of us, not just one person,” said Khan.
Minister Jeon said that all groups within the party would work together to strengthen the PTI until the end.
Khan didn’t comment on the no-confidence bill for the prime minister, but he couldn’t avoid reporters asking if the group was for or against the government.
“If the no-confidence bill is proposed, we will decide together,” he said.
One of the attendees, Awn Chaudry, a former aide to the Prime Minister of Punjab, was also seen being chased by reporters on her way to Tarin’s home.
In an interview with reporters camping outside, Chaudry asked “let some tension remain” and added that he would do his best no matter what happens.
“Are you the opposition or the government?” asked a reporter.
“I’ll do my best no matter what happens,” he smiled. He added that members of the group would welcome Aleem Khan by referring to him as a “brother.”
“(Punjab Chancellor Usman) Will Buzdar go or stay?” He asked another reporter.
“Hold on a minute. Let’s see what happens.” he said as he moved in.
Sindh Governor Meets Khan
Khan’s announcement also prompted PM Imran to send Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to meet with the former Punjab Minister.
In an interview with the media after the meeting, Ismail confirmed that he was in Lahore at the direction of the Prime Minister and would forward the group’s “requests, recommendations and reservations” to Prime Minister Imran.
“I and my team are going to leave for Islamabad and will forward their (Tareen group) reservations and requests to the Prime Minister,” he said.
He said the group’s reservations were primarily related to the Punjab government and addressing them would be beneficial for PTI. Governor Sindh said the prime minister would have a final say on the matter, but he seemed confident that concerns would be addressed.
When asked by a reporter how long this process would take, he said, “It will be over in a day or two.”
Ismail further argued that Khan and Tarin were still “soldiers and aides” to the prime minister, as they were ten years ago.
“I want to make one thing clear,” he added, adding that PTI is “strong in Punjab and in the centre.”
“Tomorrow you will find out that Aleem Khan, Jahangir Tareen, their colleagues and those who contact them, we will all be together.”
Earlier, Intelligence Minister Fawad Chaudhry told the press that Tareen and Khan were still integral parts of the ruling PTI.
“They are part of our party,” he added, adding that intra-party politics is commonplace.
“They are in politics and they have relationships with several of our MPAs. […] Alim Khan and Tarin have a close relationship with Prime Minister Imran.”
PML-N Contact Tarin Group
The Tarin group’s meeting is in the process of finalizing a no-confidence bill for the prime minister, claiming that the opposition coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has enough MPs in the parliament. Make the expulsion successful.
Last month, PML-N confirmed that the party had contacted disgruntled groups and were seeking assistance to oust the government. At the same time, the group also met at the residence of the PML-Q leader, a key ally of the PTI government in Punjab and central.
In an interview with reporters at the time, Tareen said the no-confidence motion he claimed had not yet been voted on and it was unclear whether it would materialize.
When asked about his contact with the opposition, he said, “It is an organization that has come together after a long time. It is not yet known what role the opposition should play in the current political scenario.”
He also added that the group will hold more meetings to discuss future strategies as political leaders stay in touch with each other.
Tareen said the meeting also talked about inflation, but didn’t specifically mention the no-confidence bill. “It is premature to discuss this issue,” he said, calling for public relief to the prime minister.
Thereafter, it was reported that Prime Minister Imran reached out to Tarin to ensure he did not lose an old friend to the opposition.