The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) may be trying to hurriedly paper over the cracks in the ruling alliance but the fissures are still showing. More so than the reservations of coalition partners, it is the entrenched infighting between the PTI top leadership that is a matter of concern. Despite numerous, emphatic statements by Prime Minister Imran Khan that his hand-picked Chief Minister for Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, will stay on at the job despite criticism, PTI leaders continue to seek his replacement in clear defiance to their party leader.

The latest attempt has been made by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chuadhry, who wrote a rather undignified letter to the Prime Minster, complaining of “poor governance” affecting the party’s image. It is inexplicable why Mr Chaudhry would persist with this agenda when Imran Khan has been explicit in his trust for the Punjab Chief Minister; this level of insubordination at such a public forum must surely be embarrassing for the PTI. Sure enough, following the letter, Imran Khan reiterated that Sardar Usman Buzdar is “here to stay”. PTI powerbrokers in Punjab should’ve learned their lesson by now.

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan may have characterized latest internal conflict as “democracy in action”, where individual government members are allowed to express their opinion, but the reality is quite different. Having different opinions than the party leadership on policy matters is justified as a democratic right, but constantly bucking under the party nominated leadership is simply rebellious.

For the time being it is not the opposition that is the biggest critic of the Punjab CM, it is the CM’s party itself. More so than any perceived poor performance; such actions by government ministers are negatively affecting the party image.