“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leadership is incompetent and not capable of leading the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,” says Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman – Ameer [head] of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami (JUI).
The JUI leader in a televised interview with one of the Pakistani leading news channel said the Imran Khan-led PTI party is not capable of managing the complex political and security affairs of a volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
On July 30, militants from the federally-administered tribal areas launched a daring attack on a highly-guarded central prison in Dera Ismail Khan, a southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The militants successfully freed about 250 inmates including battle-hardened terrorists without any resistance from security forces. In the incident, 12 people were killed, including policemen, a private guard and some inmates. The militants made their escape while unhurt to their hideouts in the tribal areas.
Security analysts and commentators are also pointing fingers at PTI’s central leadership, accusing it of being sympathetic towards the Islamist militants and hence failing to launch a timely counter-operation against those attacking the prison.
According to reports in the Pakistani media, the state intelligence agencies had shared prior information regarding militants’ impending attack on the prison with the authorities concerned, including provincial Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. However, the administration failed to take timely measures to protect the jail.
Rehman claimed during his television interview that, besides the jailbreak, there had been 48 other grave security breeches in the province during the last forty days.
The Maulana’s JUI and PTI are the main rivals in the by-elections scheduled to be held on August 22. Fazal Rahman has fielded his son, Maulana Asad Mahmood, in the elections of the NA-25 constituency and, facing tough competition from PTI candidate Eng Dawar Khan Kundi, he has hence resorted to direct political attacks against the PTI provincial government.
Jan Achakzai – spokesman for Rehman – admitted that the JUI chief, in a broadcast interview, accused the PTI leadership of incompetency and of not being capable of leading the coalition government in the violence-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He said, since forming the government, the law and order situation in the province has deteriorated while the government is clueless about handling the situation and protecting lives and properties of the people.
“[On the DIK jailbreak]…the government had the option of calling on the army or seeking federal government support but failed to respond despite having prior intelligence information. It is sheer negligence and naivety,” Achakzai told Truth Tracker by phone.
“To overcome these pressing problems you [the government] need to take quick decisions … however, in KP the chief ministers and his cabinet are dependent on Lahore (PTI-central leadership), even for day-to-day affairs,” Jan says. This [situation] creates governance-related issues in the province, Achakzai added.
Amir Muqam, former federal minister and central vice president of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), also believed that the D.I.Khan jailbreak represented a total security failure on the part of the provincial government. However, the senior politician disagreed with Fazal-ur-Rahman’s call to remove the PTI provincial government from power due to its failure handling the jail-breaking affairs.
“Its not fair to judge performance of a political government which has just been in office for hardly two months,” says Muqam.
Mr Muqam pointed out that a similar attack on jail [Bannu Jailbreak] – where in 300 prisoners were set free by militants – has occurred under the Awami National Party-led coalition government in Pakhtunkhwa, but that no one asked for a government resignation then.
Muqam believes people voted for PTI to bring changes to their socio-economic lives and that the party definitely needs a minimum of six months to show some progress.
The provincial government denied the allegations that the provincial Chief Minister had prior intelligence information regarding the militants attacks on D.I.Khan jail.
“The CM hasn’t received intelligence warnings [regarding D.I.Khan jailbreak] … and to find out lapses in communication he [Chief Minister] has called for an inquiry [into jailbreak incident],” Shah Farman, Provincial Minister for information, told Truth Tracker.
In response to the allegations of PTI being inexperienced and naive in governance, the provincial minister said the incumbent Chief Minister, Pervaiz Khattak, is not only a senior and veteran politician, but also very experienced in governance due to his serving in important cabinet positions in various elected governments of the province.
In addition to occupying the role of chief minister, the provincial senior minister Siraj Ul Haq served as finance minister in the Mutahida Majlis Amal (MMA) government for a full term of five years, said the minister. However, the minister said sarcastically, “Yes, we are naive in corruption.”
Considering independent views and taking into account Rehman’s interviews, we can say the statement is mostly false.