Bigwigs fall on their swords amid ‘shame and disgust’

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Jahangir Khan Tareen, Pir Pagara, Pervez Khattak, Sirajul Haq and Naeemur Rehman

LAHORE/KARACHI/PESHAWAR: It was a walk of shame for some, and defiant stands by others, as a number of political leaders and entities announced their decision to step down — either from the political limelight or from the few seats they had managed to garner in last week’s elections.

Jahangir Khan Tareen, the head of the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party — cobbled together from PTI deserters ahead of the polls — announced his departure from politics after his party took a drubbing.

Once considered a confidant of the incarcerated former prime minister and PTI founder Imran Khan, Mr Tareen lost both of the National Assembly seats he was contesting on, while his nascent party only managed to grab two NA and one provincial assembly seat.

In a heartfelt message on X (formerly Twitter), Tareen announced his decision to resign from his position as chairman of IPP and step away from politics altogether. “My gratitude to all members of IPP. I wish them the absolute best,” he added.

JKT walks away from politics; Pir Pagara incensed by ‘pro-Zardari’ results; Khattak denies reports of PTI-P dissolution

This decision marks the end of an era for IPP, leaving many to wonder about the future of the party without its founding leader.

Tareen’s departure from politics has left a void in IPP, and it remains to be seen how the party will navigate this new chapter. As for Tareen, his future endeavours are eagerly anticipated by many, as he had pledged to continue to serve the country in a private capacity.

Reacting to this announcement, IPP President Abdul Aleem Khan expressed sadness, saying Tareen will always be the patron-in-chief for the IPP and all of them. He further said that Tareen’s presence in any government was an honour for that government.

“As a younger brother and IPP president, I pay tribute to him and his philanthropic activities. May Allah bless them with health, safety, and success. Amen,” he added in a post on X.

Aleem Khan had emerged victorious in both NA-117 and Lahore’s provincial assembly constituency PP-149, securing a significant mandate from the electorate.

Pir Pagara incensed

Rejecting the results of the 2024 elections, PML-Funct­ional chief and head of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) Pir Pagara said that they were given two seats as “charity”, which they did not want to keep.

In a presser held following a GDA huddle in Karachi on Monday, the spiritual leader of the Hur Jamaat announced a sit-in to protest this injustice at the Hyderabad Bypass on Feb 16. He said the GDA would also contact other political parties to join the sit-in.

He disclosed that someone close to him had advised him to dissolve GDA and participate in the election under the PML-F banner. “I was told that if I form an alliance with Asif Zardari, I will get my national and Sindh Assemblies seats,” he added.

He said he was told that there will be ‘zero’ result in case he did not close the chapter of GDA.

“If the entire province was to be handed over to [Asif Ali] Zardari, then what was the need for an election?” he asked, adding: “We also return these two seats. Give these seats also to Zardari, he needs them”.

The PML-F chief said that his father had always supported the army. “He [late Pir Pagara] was with the GHQ since 1954 and always advised us to go with the army. But we have the right to protest when and where we do not get respect and justice.”

When asked if the country’s establishment would be angered by his protest, Pir Pagara said that when a son was angry with his father, he also left the house.

Pervez Khattak

Although the rumour mills were rife with reports that former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak had bid farewell to politics following his party’s poor showing on polling day, the head of his own PTI-Parliamentarian faction said on Monday that he had no intention to quit politics or abolish his political party.

PTI-P spokesperson Ziaullah Bangash told Dawn that reports about Mr Khattak quitting the politics, circulating on social media, were baseless. “I just spoke to Mr Khattak, who denied issuing any such statement,” he said.

The top leadership of the newly carved out PTI-P failed to make a mark on the political landscape of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, managing only two provincial assembly seats from Peshawar.

The results of the Thursday’s polls were shocking for two former chief ministers, Mr Khattak and Mahmood Khan, as both of them lost their seats in their home districts of Nowshera and Swat, respectively.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2024