The news of the fallout over corruption allegations between coalition government, Qaumi Watan Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, comes as no surprise for many in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; recent boycotting of assembly sessions by QWP, their increasingly icy silence on provincial affairs, as well as other shifts in party behavior indicated that a rift had taken birth between the former and latter. Although provincial president of the QWP and Senior Minister Sikander Sherpao described the sudden decision of the break-up, announced from Islamabad to be a “surprise”, he took to Twitter to say, “good riddance”, and that he was “relieved” to resign.

Prior to this development, both PTI and QWP struggled to settle into an uneasy equilibrium, which was jarred most recently by the insistence on the blocking of NATO supplies by the former. Not only was the QWP aggrieved to have been ignored during the consultation process, whereby this decision was reached by its now-former ‘ally’, but also openly expressed its disagreement with it, calling the move “unwise”. While PTI claims that QWP turned a deaf ear to repeated cautions on complaints of corruption, QWP insists other disagreements were to blame for this new hostility, and why it found wisdom in stepping aside and boycotting all provincial meetings.

In a press conference yesterday, Sikander Sherpao of QWP brandished a letter apparently signed by Mr Imran Khan, suggesting – in terms that would brook no argument – the appointment of a Mr Khushal Khan in a department then headed by Mr Sherpao himself. Internal grievances aside, the letter shown by Mr Sherpao – which he insists is just a preview of dozens more – would suggest that Mr Khan’s righteous indignation and rhetoric falls flat when he himself contradicts his stated principles. The reaction by both QWP and PTI, to complaints, which could have been dealt with more maturely and more transparently, simply highlight the duplicity of the politics being played in KPK to the detrmiment of its people. In a province that is plagued with militancy and corruption, holier-than-thou attitudes and inconsistency with coalition partners simply jeopardizes any possibility of progress. Mr Khan and PTI must learn to consult his allies, and include them in KPK provincial government decision-making. Mr Sherpao and QWP must accept legitimate criticism and investigate allegations before embarking on a spirited blame-game as a response. Both sides can do better, or the unforgiving voters of KPK will withdraw their support and leave both parties in the lurch – as evidenced with ANP, MMA and JI, who learnt only too late.