ISLAMABAD - Hardly six months back when Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) under its firebrand chief had nearly toppled the regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through its popular 126-day anti-government sit-in, Imran Khan and his party are currently faced with the same allegations it levelled against the PML-N regime.

In fact opposition forces in KP and the ruling PML-N in centre demand resignation of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak over the loss of lives during the Local Bodies polling day accusing the PTI-led government of rigging the elections through its ministers.

Back in August last when Imran Khan had insisted on resignation of Premier Sharif for having alleged role in rigging of 2013 general elections, the PTI and its chairman have to face the same allegations with opposition forces demanding re-elections in KP under a regime not headed by PTI.

Insiders in PTI wonder as to how popularity of the party that once promised change continues its nosedive in a province it swept during general election in wake of the ill-performance shown by the KP government during LB polls and the loss of seats to rival candidates.

They are of the view that the latest dent to the already dwindling popularity of the party was added by nobody but PTI’s Provincial Minister for Revenue Ali Amin Gandapur who in defiance of codes of conduct, raided a polling station in D I Khan and snatched ballot boxes.

Gandapur due to his violent action has not only invited ire of opposition but also earned nickname of ‘Gullu Butt’ of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the name that had become a hallmark of Imran Khan’s speeches as he attributed the Gullu to be acting on behalf of PML-N.

Former Deputy Speaker National Assembly and PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi told The Nation that the PTI’s minister should have been arrested the moment he ambushed a polling station only to snatch the ballot boxes.

“If it was not public pressure and complaints by politicians like us against Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, the PTI government would have not arrested him. I still have a doubt that Imran Khan has a soft corner for the Gullu Butt of KP,” Kundi told this reporter candidly.

He added that the entire police in D I Khan had become silent spectators with watching Gandapur as he broke each law of the land until he (Kundi) cried and protested before district administration and brought the issue to the limelight.

Aside from political opponents of Imran Khan who got a chance to criticize PTI in wake of the mismanagement in LB polls, independent political observers are of the view that the young PTI has several reasons to lose trust of people. “The decline of PTI started the day when seasoned politician Javed Hashmi parted ways with Imran Khan and disowned the anti-government agitation last year on the pretext that his party chief is playing in the hands of others,” said Dr Ijaz Khan, Prof of Department of International Relations (IR) at Peshawar University. “Another blow to the popularity graph of PTI came from the party’s MNA from Swat Murad Saeed who tampered the marks of his BS degree from Peshawar University. These kinds of blunders cannot be afforded by a party that eyes a bigger role in national politics,” he said.

PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq could not respond to the text messages sent on his cell phone in order to get his response to the fact that his party is encountered with same allegations it levelled against the PML-N government for rigging elections.

According to well-informed sources, the latest episode of Minister Ali Amin would be another litmus test for PTI’s respect for rule of law as according to them; Gandapur was one of the few leaders who got applause from Imran Khan for protecting him when police had fired rubber bullets and tears gas on protesters at D Chowk.