The long drown political crisis in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa reached meltdown on Friday when Imran Khan, chief of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), gave a loud and clear warning to a group of disgruntled legislators of his party. He said that he would rather dissolve the provincial legislature and call fresh elections than caving in to the ‘forward bloc’s blackmailing’.
The warning came hours after 14 PTI legislators handed their resignations from the assembly membership to the deputy speaker, Imtiaz Shahid.
“It is their democratic right to differ and hold a meeting with the party’s chairman to convey any genuine concerns,” Imran said. “But if someone thinks that he can blackmail me, either he doesn’t know me or he is under some illusion,” he added. “We will dissolve the assembly and call fresh elections,” the PTI chief said while talking to journalists after meeting Acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Nasirul Mulk.
Earlier in the day, 14 PTI legislators, including some former parliamentary secretaries, handed their resignations to the deputy speaker. “We’ve not resigned per se. We’ve just handed our resignations to the deputy speaker,” one of the disgruntled MPA, Javed Naseem, told journalists. He added that Imtiaz Shahid was also one of them.
The crisis was triggered by a recent reshuffle in the provincial cabinet. Sources said that most disgruntled members were unhappy over giving ministries to the MPAs who joined the PTI after being elected as independent candidates.
Meanwhile the number of disgruntled MPAs has swelled to 20.