Senior member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former Punjab minister Aleem Khan, who according to reports is “disgruntled” ever since a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation was launched into his assets, has telephoned rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Punjab President Rana Sanaullah to discuss with him the fast-changing political scenario, especially in Punjab, The News reported.
According to reports, Aleem contacted the PML-N stalwart and told him that he wanted to discuss “some important issues in the context of the fast-changing political scenario”, which Sanaullah immediately brought to the attention of party chief Shehbaz Sharif.
“PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah immediately informed PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif about this political development. He [Sanaullah] was told to wait until he gives him directives in this regard,” the report quoted sources as saying.
They said the PML-N leadership would assess all political options but is likely to keep a safe distance from “segments of PTI allegedly involved in the wheat or sugar crises” and are being accused of making billions through government subsidies and price hike, the report stated.
“Aleem Khan had also approached Rana Sanaullah in the past when he was practically sidelined due to his growing differences with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan over the state of affairs in Punjab,” sources told The News and added that when Sanaullah was arrested in the controversial narcotics case, the PTI member had back then also sent him text messages, saying he hoped that the PML-N leader comes out clean.
When contacted, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah confirmed that he had a detailed telephonic conversation with Aleem and the two discussed the current political situation in the country.
To a question, he 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 this 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 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.”
To another question, he said some PTI members from Punjab had contacted the PML-N in the past as well but the leadership had decided that it would be useless to participate in power politics without having any people-oriented political agenda.