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Cracks widen inside Imran Khan government –Defence minister Parvez Khattak leads revolt

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Rift has been reported between the Pakistan Premier Imran Khan and his close confidant and Defence Minister, Parvez Khattak (Pic. Courtesy republicofbuzz.com)

The cracks inside the Imran Khan led government have started to widen. The first salvo against Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was fired by his close confidant - the defence minister Parvez Khattak, who is also known for his deep ties with the Pakistani military establishment.

In a parliamentary meeting, Khattak got into a heated argument with his boss Imran Khan and lost his cool.

“You (Imran Khan) have gathered the unelected people around you, we elected you as the premier... our province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) produces gas and electricity but its people are deprived of them,” reports Geo TV quoting Khattak as saying.

Khattak went further and warned Imran Khan. “We have voted for you to become the prime minister, but if your behaviour remains the same, then we will not vote for you the next time.”

The report says that at one point Imran Khan too lost his cool and got into a verbal duel with his cabinet colleagues.

“Do not blackmail me, if you do not want to vote (for mini-budget) then do so. If you are not satisfied with me then I will hand over the (premiership) it to someone else,” Khan said angrily.

Khattak was not alone in his criticism. The other cabinet members and coalition partners came heavily on Imran Khan and his “finance minister” blaming them for the mess in the country.

The scene in the meeting turned ugly when they started hurling allegations against one another.

Later on, Khattak tried to downplay the incident by saying that whatever happened was the party's internal matter but Pakistani watchers believe that the  situation is changing rapidly in the country. There are now  strong indications that the  military establishment has finally decided it can’t support Imran Khan any more without irrevocably alienating its own support base.

Also Read: Is the Imran Khan regime in Pakistan heading for a meltdown in March?

“The country's economic challenges have risen exponentially. Big ticket reforms are the need of the hour but that does not seem to be the priority as the government until now has been preoccupied with issues other than the economy," says Shahid Mehmood, a Pakistani columnist of Dawn.

Imran Khan’s so-called promises of making “Naya Pakistan” have faded as his government has been borrowing heavily to stay afloat while Pakistanis are forced to bear the burden as well as water, power and gas crisis, inflation and unemployment. The opposition is showing unusual aggression and riling people up against the Imran Khan government following the military establishment’s refusal to bail him out. This was evident in the recently held local elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Imran Khan’s ruling party PTI lost to the opposition in its stronghold.

Even Khan knows that the next three month would be crucial for the survival of his government.

Also Read: Amid tussle with military, Imran Khan admits next three months are crucial for his survival