‘Visionary’ political families’ split for benefits in all weathers
Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak is responsible for the defence of the country. But being senior PTI leader in KP, he is also supposed to safeguard the party’s interests in his province.
He is expected to strengthen the party in the province of which he was the chief minister before being aggrandized to the existing position after the 2018 elections.
But, it seems, he has failed to perform this role.
His nephew Ahad Malik is reported to have parted ways with the PTI and joined the PPP, which is striving to oust the Imran Khan government to pave the way for fresh elections.
At a ceremony at Nowshera, Ahad Khattak alleged that the PTI did not fulfil its commitments made with the people during the general elections.
Ahad Khattak’s father Liaquat Khattak, a PTI MPA from Nowshera, had developed serious differences with Pervez Khattak after his son failed to get a PTI ticket to contest by-election from PK-63 Nowshera.
After that Liaquat Khattak supported Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Ikhtiar Wali in the by-poll as a result of which the PTI lost the seat. He was, thereafter, expelled from the provincial cabinet for supporting the PML-N candidate.
The allegation that the PTI did not deliver on its commitments may or may not be true, but Ahad Khatta’s defection at this juncture will certainly cause tremendous embarrassment to his uncle – the incumbent defence minister.
Will more people follow suit and quit the PTI – will be clear in the times ahead.
Whatever developments unfold in the future, political observers say that it is possible that the Khattak family took this ‘strategic’ decision to ensure political benefits even after the change of government.
It is expected that some members of the Khattak family will stay with the PTI while others join hands with the PPP.
By following this two-track strategy the Khattaks will continue to enjoy the benefits of power whether the PTI remains in power or the PPP gets a chance to return to power.
‘Visionary’ political families deliberately follow this strategy or change their political course to reap political benefits in all weathers.
The strategy of Khattaks is also being pursued by the family of federal minister Asad Umar.
While Asad is an important minister in the Imran Khan cabinet, his brother Muhammad Zubair is spokesman to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.
Not everybody is smart enough to have good terms both with ‘Imam Hussain and Yazeed’ at the same time.
In TV talk shows one brother speaks for Prime Minister Imran Khan while the other, as a PML-N representative, blasts the PTI government.
The benefits of the apparent ‘split’ are pouring in – no matter what the public opinion of the two brothers.
The same is the situation with the family of the late Pervaiz Malik, a senior PML-N leader who died only a few days ago during exercise at a local gym.
He remained a federal minister during the PML-N rule. His widow and son are also PML-N MNAs.
But another brother of Pervaiz Malik, Malik Qayyum, was very close to Gen Pervez Musharraf. He remained attorney general of Pakistan during his rule.
In other words, the family was both with the tyrant and the victim.
Their sister Yasmin was a PPP MNA.
Then, a former Punjab governor was very close to then-president Sardar Farooq Leghari. But the smart governor got closer to Mian Nawaz Sharif when the feudal from Dera Ghazi Khan and Lahore’s industrialist-turned-politician were sworn-enemies.
The governor’s closeness with Nawaz Sharif benefitted the former’s brother and years later he became the law minister in the PML-N government.
Interestingly, Farooq Leghari’s sons are now with the PML-N and their rival Sardar Zulfikar Khosa is trying to join the PPP, something unimaginable in the past.
Not many people remember that the late Khwaja Muhammad Safdar ‘served the cause of democracy’ by assuming the chairmanship of the nominated Majlis-i-Shoora during Gen Zia’s period. But his son – Khwaja Muhammad Asif, as PML-N MNA, is among the pillars of democracy. He remained minister for defence and minister for foreign affairs during the PML-N rule.
Both father and the son are successful politicians of their respective times.
There are many other families who join rival camps for their long-term benefits.