ISLAMABAD - Some senior members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet have pushed for removal of Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry for his statement about infighting and grouping within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the sources confided to The Nation yesterday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Planning Minister Asad Umar held a meeting with PM Imran Khan, the other day, and asked for a disciplinary action against the federal minister for science and technology, the official sources added.

Both the ministers as well as senior leaders of the ruling party took the stance that Chaudhry has tried to give an impression as if they were responsible for the alleged failures of the government. They said that an effort has been made to shift the blame on them for not implementing the much-talked about reforms agenda of PTI.

In the meeting, they demanded that a strong message should be given, by taking an action against Chaudhry, to those who would violate the party discipline in future by making controversial statements in public. They said that if an action was not taken against the minister, it will give a message of laxity. The PM listened to both the ministers but avoided to take any step against Chaudhry.

The two ministers also clarified their position by saying that they neither conspired against party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen nor became part of any bickering within the party.

Earlier this week, Chaudhry who is known for his bold and controversial remarks, had admitted in an interview to a US media outlet that internal rifts within the PTI’s top leadership caused damage to the party’s reforms agenda. He had regretted that bickering among the top party leadership including Tareen, Qureshi and Umar pushed the political class out the game making a vacuum to be filled up by the non-elected members who were unaware of the PM’s vision.

On the other hand, Chaudhry in a twitter post said that he would continue with his portfolio of federal minister as long as he has had the confidence of PM Imran Khan. “There was no question of tendering resignation on someone else’s wish,” he said adding that politics was not a game of those people having weak heart.

The two ministers, Umar and Chaudhry, were contacted to have their versions but they did not respond.

On last Tuesday, some ministers had also raised the issue of “controversial” interview in the cabinet meeting while Chaudhry remained stuck to his remarks about un-elected members there. At least, PM had to intervene and stopped federal ministers from levelling allegations against one another in the meeting. The PM also directed the party leaders to avoid discussing internal matters of the party publicly.

Earlier reacting to the interview of federal minister, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan had said that Chaudhry should resign and disassociate himself with the government if he was dissatisfied with the performance of the government.