LAHORE: PTI dissident Abdul Aleem Khan on Monday criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan and accused him of not being “sincere to the nation”.
Once a close aide of the PTI chairman, Aleem has grown disillusioned over the past few years and recently took a position against the party by deciding to support the joint opposition in the Punjab Assembly.
Talking to the media in Lahore today, he said he regretted dedicating 10 years of his life to the party. “I have supported the PTI with great loyalty, hard work and kept my ego aside. We thought there would be a Naya Pakistan in the face of Imran Khan,” he said. “I’m sad that the person I spent 10 years of my life for is not sincere with the nation.”
Aleem criticised the premier over a number of issues ranging from the National Accountability Bureau “hounding” him to his insistence on retaining Usman Buzdar as the chief minister and then the nomination of PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi as the new Punjab CM.
Aleem rued that he had been branded a “traitor to the PTI” as he called out his critics and claimed that no one in the party had sacrificed more than him.
In a similar vein, he issued a challenge to the prime minister to bring forth any evidence of corruption against him, for which he said he was imprisoned for six months.
“Why wasn’t a reference made against me? What proof do you have? Bring it in front of the nation and tell them that these were Aleem Khan’s misdoings and corruption … I promise that if I turn out to be lying then I will shoot myself.” he said.
The PTI dissident levelled a number of allegations against Buzdar as well, saying that he was involved in bribery over transfers and postings in Punjab. He also accused Farah Khan, an associate of the first lady, of being complicit in these transfers.
He said any investigation would uncover who she (Farah) was forwarding the money of her alleged corruption while responding to a question about whether the first lady was also involved in supporting Farah.
Aleem criticised the prime minister for Sunday’s dissolution of the National Assembly as well, questioning what had stopped him from doing so before. He said that the premier could not dissolve the assemblies once a no-confidence resolution was submitted against him.
Aleem’s business contradicted PTI manifesto, says Gill
PTI spokesperson Shahbaz Gill responded to Aleem’s press conference and refuted his claims regarding the prime minister. He said Aleem was a close member of the PTI and should have aired his concerns while he was still with the party. Gill said there was “no doubt” that Aleem had supported the party but did so out of his own will and no conditions were set between him and the prime minister.
Gill said that Aleem had acquired over 300 acres of riverbed property and then pressure was put on the then Lahore Development Authority vice chairman to legalise the land but the premier refused.
“There were other issues as well where PTI’s manifesto and Aleem Khan’s business were contradicting each other,” he said.
Regarding Aleem’s claims about being sent notices by NAB, Gill said it was “illogical” since they had also been sent to PTI member Sibtain Khan, who nonetheless still stood by the prime minister.
Gill also called on Aleem to provide proof for his allegations against Farah Khan and CM Buzdar.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said he was “deeply anguished” by Aleem’s press conference. He said Aleem’s grievances were from the PTI government’s second year and would have held weight at that time but it was “inappropriate” to raise them now.