Jahangir Tareen group and opposition's number game

Jahangir Tareen group could help the opposition to bring down PTI governments in Punjab and in Islamabad

Since the opposition announced to bring vote of no-confidence against the PTI government both in the National and Punjab Assemblies, the PTI faction known as Jahangir Tareen group back in the news and become relevant again. This group has become a key political player in this situation.

The matter of fact is that Tareen group can topple the government if it sides with opposition in the parliament. The important factor will be to see that how many MNAs and MPAs are still supporting the group. Two members of Punjab Assembly Nazeer Chauhan and Khurum Leghari already left the group.

For a successful motion of no-confidence against PM Imran Khan, the opposition needs the support of the 10 members of national assembly either from government allies or defection in PTI. Tareen group can make this possible because Tareen brought many independents and electables in the fold of PTI.

Tareen group can also played a crucial role in the vote of no –confidence against CM Punjab Usman Buzdar. If Tareen group withdraw its support from CM Buzdar it will collapse. But is not yet clear how many MPAs will defect from PTI to join this group. The situation will become clear in coming weeks.   PTI government has the support of 193 MPAs including 10 members of PML-Q. There are also 5 independents in the Punjab assembly who can play a decisive role in the vote of no-confidence.

Opposition needs 186 votes to remove CM Punjab Usman Buzdar. Opposition has 172 members (PML-N 165 and PPP 7). Opposition needs 10 members of PML-Q and 4 members of independent group to reach to the magic figure of 186.

The other option is the support of Tareen group which has nearly two dozen MPAs. If Tareen group decided to support the opposition in Punjab assembly it will be enough to topple the Buzdar government.

Tareen group hasn’t announced its decision yet taken at recently held meeting. But some sources close to Tareen group MPAs claimed that group might join hands with opposition.  

This group emerged around former secretary general PTI and business tycoon Jahangir Tareen when he developed differences with PM Imran Khan on the issue of FIA inquiry against him. He feared that FIA wants to arrest him sugar scam on the behest of the PTI government.

Nearly a dozen members of National Assembly and two dozen members of Punjab Assembly formally announced the formation of Tareen group to show solidarity with Jahangir Tareen and accused some elements within the PTI government to conspire against Jahangir Tareen. The group lost the steam when government assured the Jahangir Tareen that no political victimisation will happen against him.  

Jahangir Tareen played important role not only in the formation of the PTI government in Punjab but also at federal level. He negotiated with different smaller parties including MQM-P and PML-Q. He also won over the independents to gain the simple majority to form the government in Punjab.

The Tareen group held a meeting at the residence of Awn Chaudhry under the chairmanship of estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen. The group gave authority to Tareen to take a final decision.

According to sources, majority of the group’s members decided to enter the political arena with full force and launch the anti-government strategy. Most members of the group suggested standing with the PML-N in the anti-government stance while those hailing from Jhang advised maintaining independent status.

Sources said Tareen Group decided to bring their strategy to the fore after formal presentation of the no-trust move. They further said that the Tareen group could support the opposition when the no-trust move is presented, adding that the PTI position was “very weak” in the Tareen circle.

Tareen group expressed concern that key figures in the local government elections would not like to take the PTI ticket. It adopted the stance that inflation had broken the back of the common man over which there was a strong public reaction and that the group would play an active role in this regard.

Buzdar government cannot survive without the support of Tareen group. It seems that Tareen group wants to keep its options open till the last moment. The political developments of past two weeks have made Tareen group relevant and king maker. Opposition needs the support of the Tareen group to move a successful motion of no- confidence.

                                                                     Khalid Bhatti 

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