The uncertain future of PTI government

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Tongues are wagging in Islamabad about the uncertain future of the PTI government after its coalition partners changed their tone and tenor.

After PML-Q, the MQM-Pakistan has also started deliberating in its in-house discussions as to what the MQM-P is getting from its partnership with the PTI government.

The MQM-P’s senior leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan feared on Saturday that the PTI government may not survive till the next budget if it does not improve the economy particularly the revenue collection.

Talking to The News, Khawaja Izhar said without improving revenue collection, the economic condition of the country is bound to suffer further with every passing day. Even otherwise, he said there is uncertainty within the MQM-P and questions are being raised by party’s Rabita Committee as to what has the Muttahida gained while extending its support to the PTI government. Khawaja complained that there is no progress whatsoever in the commitments made by the PTI at the time of formation of the coalition government in 2018. He lamented that nothing has moved in regard to the promised development package. He said the Rabita Committee members are debating how has the MQM benefited by being a government partner when the promises made to it by the senior partner (PTI) remains unfulfilled.

Federal Minister and MQM-P top leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, when contacted, said that though his party would not abandon the PTI in difficult times, but expressed his concerns about the deteriorating economic conditions of the country. Talking to The News, Khalid Maqbool said the trade deficit has been reduced by curtailing imports which have a negative impact on development. He said we need to improve our exports by promoting industrialisation besides improving our revenue generation through a tax mechanism which should cover all segments of the society instead of focusing on one and ignoring the other.

The MQM’s mistrust against its senior ruling partner- PTI- is bound to worry the Imran Khan government after the PML-Q’s top leaders have already started speaking in public, against the government policies. The PML-Q- is also not satisfied with Imran Khan’s government and its performance and the party believes that things have gone from bad to worse. Of late statements of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi have alarmed many in the PTI. In a TV interview, a few days ago, Chaudhry Shujaat had warned that owing to price hike and unemployment no one would be willing to become the prime minister in next three to six months’ time.

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi also urged the government, in a TV talk show, to focus on economy and confidence building environment. Pervaiz Elahi said the government should show leniency towards opposition besides reviewing its policy of accountability. He said the government should stop pursuing political cases.

Meanwhile a key PML-Q leader hailing from Gujrat, had told The News on Friday that the overall scenario of the country has really become worrisome. “Things cannot proceed like this anymore,” the Q-leader had said on the condition of not being named. He lamented that the PTI despite the Q-League’s repeated calls turned a deaf ear to the advice of focusing on economy and governance instead of accountability, which remains controversial. Besides their reservations over economic performance of the government and accountability, the PML Q and MQM-P have also raised their voice against the PTI’s decision of setting conditions for removing Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL. Both the parties insisted that Nawaz should be allowed to go for treatment abroad without any condition and on humanitarian grounds.

The MQM-P has seven and the PML-Q has five members in the National Assembly. Their support for the PTI is crucial for the survival of the Imran Khan government at the Centre. Although none of these important coalition partners of the PTI has yet given any clear indication of parting ways, the sudden voicing of their mistrust has caused fears of serious challenges of survival cropping up for the Imran Khan government.

However, a senior PTI leader dispelled the impression saying that differences within the party and allies is a routine matter and there is nothing to worry about. He said some allies have some reservations, but these reservations are discussed and addressed at meetings. He said the reservations of the allies will be removed soon. He said the economy of the country has stabilised after strenuous efforts and difficult decisions by the government. He said there is no threat to the government and it is stronger than before.