Eradicating corruption has been the foremost claim in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) manifesto. With Imran frantically waving around a laundry list of alleged fraud committed by the Shariff brothers and their entourage, a few counter-punches were inevitable. Comparisons between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have become the de facto litmus test of government performance. In the Sargodha rally, Imran claimed that “corruption has been curtailed in KP and the province put on the path of progress and prosperity”. This flowing, vague, populist statement requires more substantiation before it can be believed as fact. Where are the facts and figures? Is there an independent body that can corroborate this claim? What exact steps were taken to curb corruption? This rosy picture painted by the Chairman wilts further in the light of recent events in KP.

PTI MPA, Javed Nassem, along with several other MPAs, leveled claims of corruption against the Chief Minister KP, Pervaiz Khattak, his cabinet, and the provincial assembly. He agreed to call off a threatened sit-in in Peshawar only after Imran Khan formed a seven member committee to investigate the claims. True or not, coming from a group of PTI MPAs, these allegations put a sizeable chink in the captain’s armour. Furthermore, PML-N leader and federal religious affairs minister Sardar Mohammad Yousaf said his party would hold a sit-in in Islamabad unless the PTI government does more to curb corruption. His claims, being just as vague and populist as Imran’s do little to dispel the inkling that this was more political point scoring than anything else. Yet this should put Imran on the alert that while he makes ground in Punjab, other parties are taking pot-shots at his province.

More than that, the fact that PTI has not turned out as many shrewd politicians as it had hoped should tell Imran that he needs to be mindful of home. The Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) has parted ways with PTI over fraud allegations, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is feeling increasingly alienated in KP politics, and PTI’s “dance parties” are not helping either. Javed Hashmi’s exodus and an initial refusal by PTI parliamentarians to submit resignations hint at simmering resentment and hidden rifts. Aside from bureaucratic corruption, KP has a host of other issues that are flying under the radar – for now. Enforced disappearances and kidnappings continue unabated, militancy is still a burning issue, polio cases continue to surface. The backlash of Zarb-e-Azb is still to be truly felt; all ominous signs. Imran khan needs to remember that often the all-conquering hero on horseback leaves the rest of his soldiers behind, only to find himself stranded in enemy territory.