PESHAWAR - The PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government Wednesday ended its coalition with the QWP after Chief Minister Pervez Khattak suspended two provincial ministers from the junior partner for alleged involvement in corrupt practices and poor performance.

The ouster of Malik Ibrar Hussain Khan and Bakht Bedar was followed by a strong-worded advisory by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to CM Khattak to end partnership with Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). The chief minister also removed another minister – Yousaf Ayub – from his own PTI after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court in fake degree case the same day.

In a tweet, Imran said he had “asked KP CM to pull out of coalition with QWP”. QWP, he said, was given two “warnings about corruption” of two of their ministers but to no avail. Instead of rectification the QWP showed its displeasure at pointing out of their corruption by boycotting the provincial cabinet meetings, he added.

In the statement, Imran added that PTI was elected on a mandate against corruption and has zero tolerance for any form of corruption. Imran praised ministers from Jamaat-e-Islami, the major coalition partner of PTI in KP. “Our JI ministers have proven exemplary in this regard and we respect them for their commitment towards anti-corruption.”

The QWP provincial chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao resigned as senior minister minutes after the PTI’s announcement to end the partnership with QWP. Reacting over the PTI’s decision, he said that whoever had any evidence of the wrongdoing should share it with his party. “We have been clear since day one that we will not tolerate corruption as we believe in transparency and good governance,” he maintained.

Sikandar said that QWP had joined the PTI government to highlight and resolve the problems being faced by Pakhtuns. He said he would address a press conference today (Thursday) in which he would tell the “whole truth” to the nation and would expose those who are actually doing corruption in KP government. He alleged the directives being issued from “Bani Gala” are based on anti-Pakhtun policies.

Top leadership of QWP has called a special meeting of its core committee today to finalise future strategy of the party. Sources said that that before taking action, the PTI’s top brass had not only warned the corrupt ministers but also asked CM Khattak to investigate corruption allegation against the cabinet ministers. The sources said that the CM has completed the investigations and found at least 11 ministers guilty of corruption, but action against only three of them has been taken yet.

The ousted QWP minister Mr Bakht Bedar held the portfolio of labour and manpower while Abrar Hussain was provincial minister for forests. Bakht Bedar was reported to be outrightly rejecting the allegations against him. He claimed that there was no evidence against him and asked the PTI to present proof, if any. Ibrar Hussian too has rejected the allegations and said he would knock the doors of the courts over the matter. He said that he would soon expose those who were actually involved in corruption.

Political observers say that PTI has taken a significant first step by severing relations with a coalition partner over corruption issue. However, they said that similar action should also be taken against other ministers from PTI and other parties who are involved in corruption. Interestingly the PTI chief also hinted at an alliance with the PPP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, despite opposition from his party.

PTI’s Yousuf Ayub, who was also removed from his post, was minister for communication and works. The Election Tribunal earlier had declared Yousuf ineligible over his fake degree. He then filed a plea in the SC against the decision but the apex court upheld the verdict of the tribunal. Yousuf was elected an MPA from PK-50 Haripur-II.