PESHAWAR - Leaders of the opposition parties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will hold a meeting on Monday (today) reportedly to weigh their strength and chalk out a strategy for brining in-house change in the province.

Since the Aftab Sherpao-led Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) was ousted from the KP government, and the former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was declared disqualified by the Supreme Court, there was a rumour that the opposition parties in KP were planning to topple the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government. However, it will be the first formal sitting of the leaders of the opposition parties after the recent high-profile political developments. The meeting is expected to discuss introducing a no-confidence move in KP Assembly and also to plan what to do next in view of developments rapidly occurring on political horizon.

Thought leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat-e-Ulamai Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) have hinted about an in-house change, however; the big guns of ruling coalition leader, PTI, rule out any possibility of a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, keeping in view their thumping majority in the house.

Since ousting the QWP from the KP government over not siding with the PTI on Panama issue, the political temperature is heating-up in the province with each passing day. Both the sides, either sitting on treasury or opposition benches, are planning different strategies these days.

In the house of 124, the ruling alliance consisting of the PTI and JI have 69 members altogether, while the joint opposition has a total of 54 lawmakers. Interestingly, both the sides claim having the support of disgruntled legislators within their rivals’ ranks.

The figures show that the combined opposition is far behind the required numbers, 63, if it wants to bring down the PTI government in the province.    

It is clear enough that the PTI has visibly five-to-seven annoyed MPAs, who accuse time and again Khattak and his government of not implementing the party’s manifesto. It is, however, unclear so far that how many lawmakers from opposition are with the CM.

A few days back, Khattak said confidently that “there is no threat to my government at all”. He, however, made it clear that any move against his government would rock the opposition, because, half of the opposition MPAs are in contact with him, he had claimed. Though his utterance surprised many, however, being a senior politician, he knows how to deal with the situation.

However, as floor crossing is prohibited under the 18th Amendment, and action can be taken against those MPs who change their loyalty. Article 63 of the constitution can be invoked to disqualify those MPAs who vote against their party’s policy.

Thus, it is believed that the PTI disgruntled lawmakers would think twice before changing loyalties and the same law is too for the opposition. So, in this kind of situation, there is no chance for an in-house change yet. And, it will not happen; even if the JI leaves the PTI-led government. If, it is so, total strength of the opposition parties will reach to 61, while forming the government in KP requires a total of 63 lawmakers.

In his first appearance after ousting his party from the KP cabinet, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao had said that the QWP would not be part of any conspiracy to remove the present provincial government. The ANP with five MPAs in KP Assembly is thinking on the same lines too. The PPP is not in sight at this stage, because it is busy in reorganising the party in the province, thus, giving less importance to other affairs happening at provincial level.

No doubt, differences within the PTI are widening. Even CM Khattak is at loggerheads with some of his ministers, due to which there are visibly two to three groups within the party in KP. And, ousting the QWP from government is one of reasons to weaken the CM.

The PTI MPA Qurban Ali Khan, who leads the group of his disgruntled lawmakers recently appealed to the party chairman Imran Khan to convene the parliamentary party meeting to tell him the whole truth, otherwise the prevailing unrest would lead to further division. Moreover, certain MPAs of the PTI stressed Imran Khan to bring in-house change if he wanted to address their reservations.

As the opposition parties in KP plan to move a no-confidence motion against CM Khattak. But, it is unclear, which party, the JUI-F or PML-N, having 16 seats each in the assembly, would be beneficiary if the situation runs in their favour. At this stage, the opposition which has been too critical from day one of the PTI government is not on the same page. So, it is believed that no motion will see success and nothing will happen until the PTI top brass itself does not want a change the KP government.