PESHAWAR: After the ouster of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders are reportedly planning to try to convince the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to join its coalition government and maintain its weak majority in the K-P Assembly.
With QWP’s expulsion from the provincial government on July 29 for not supporting PTI’s stance on the Panamagate case, the PTI-led government is left with 61 MPAs and seven lawmakers from its coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami in the 123-member K-P Assembly.
The remaining 55 seats belong to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl with 16 MPAs each, QWP with 10, PPP with six, Awami National Party with five and two independents.
A senior PTI leader, requesting not to be named, told The Express Tribune that given the situation, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has been struggling to convince rival parties to join the coalition and has also tasked party leaders with persuading disgruntled PTI members to bury the hatchet.
“The CM could face problems in case opposition parties move a no-confidence motion against him because several of his own party members are unhappy with him and have already submitted complaints to party chief Imran Khan,” the PTI leader said.
He added that after QWP’s departure, PTI leaders were planning to contact PPP, which has six seats, to convince its MPAs to join the coalition.
“Khattak has been trying to use his old sources to convince PPP leaders to join the ruling party in the province,” he said, adding that four cabinet seats are lying vacant and the CM has reserved them for members of new parties that join the coalition.
The PTI insider further said that the party’s leadership has tasked Senator Liaqat Tarakai and Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser with persuading Minister for Education Atif Khan and Minister for Health Shahram Tarakai to bury their differences as they are unhappy with the CM on the distribution of development funds.
He added that there was also the possibility that PTI MPAs Shaukat Yousafzai and Yasin Khalil could be given the irrigation and labour ministries which have been vacant since QWP’s ouster.
However, when contacted, PPP MPA Syed Muhammad Ali Shah told The Express Tribune that PTI has not contacted his party members yet to join the coalition but if they do, the party will internally discuss the matter.
Fakhar Azam Wazir, another PPP lawmaker, said that he thought it was unlikely that the PPP would join the K-P government in the last year of its tenure, but, he added, the final decision will be taken by party leaders.