After a break lasting over a year, senior member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former Punjab minister Aleem Khan, who according to reports was “disgruntled” ever since a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation was launched into his assets, is making his way back to the provincial cabinet, coincidentally days after he contacted the rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

As per the details, the development comes after a meeting between Aleem and Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar on the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which had followed a telephonic conversation between the “disgruntled” PTI leader and PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah to  discuss the fast-changing political scenario, especially in Punjab.

Sanaullah had immediately brought the conversation to the attention of party chief Shehbaz Sharif, who had reportedly told him to wait for orders regarding befriending Aleem for any changes in the provincial house where the PTI sits on the treasury benches following a neck-and-neck with the PML-N and owing to the support of Chaudhrys of Gujrat’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML) as well as independent lawmakers.


Sources had last week informed The Current that the PML-N leadership would assess all political options but was likely to keep a safe distance from “segments of PTI allegedly involved in the wheat or sugar crises” and who had allegedly made billions through government subsidies and subsequent price hike.

When contacted, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah had confirmed having a detailed telephonic conversation with Aleem and that the two discussed the current political situation in the country. To a question, he had said it was too early to say if the PML-N and the disgruntled PTI group led by Aleem would put in any efforts to bring in-house changes in Punjab because his party had a principled stance in that respect.

“First we want electoral reforms and then we seek fresh general elections but there can be an interim arrangement till the completion of these goals,” Sanaullah had said, adding that if someone said that Aleem had the support of only 20 to 25 PTI lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly, they would be underestimating him.

“I personally know his real strength among the ranks of the PTI.”

The little telephonic conversation between the PML-N and disgruntled PTI leader had followed a meeting between PML-N’s Khawaja brothers and Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi — an important ally of the PTI government in Punjab.

With reports claiming that the fate of PTI’s Buzdar administration in Punjab was hanging in balance, it has been learnt that Aleem would soon be re-inducted to the provincial cabinet.

“It was quite obviously an attempt to keep Aleem and friends from joining hands with the PML-N for any changes in the Punjab Assembly,” sources said and added the PML-N, however, seemed confident about the bond it was forging with the PML to turn tables on the ruling party.

While Aleem has neither confirmed nor denied claims regarding his re-induction to the cabinet, The Current has learnt that he will be handed back his previous position of senior minister or “de facto provincial chief executive” along with the reins of the Local Government Department.

He is also likely to be given the control of the Punjab Food Department and an additional charge of the Planning and Development (P&D) Department, sources said and added that Aleem will be administered oath within a day or two.