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EDITORIAL: Although Jahangir Khan Tareen has been declared ineligible for official positions by court, he doesn't want to relegate himself to the position of a political has-been or a person who is no longer of any significance in politics. Following the 2018 general elections, if he flew his plane to help Imran Khan form Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led ruling coalition at the Centre and form his party's government in the country's biggest province, Punjab, where Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had emerged as the largest in the provincial assembly elections as well, he now seems to have the required wherewithal to trigger a downfall of the ruling PTI governments at the Center and in Punjab. The wounds he received from some insiders are still raw, and he appears to have the capacity and capability to exact revenge. Tareen says his "like-minded group" is active again and it would take decisions for the future in the light of evolving political situation in the country. "Two years are left to the election ... we will take decisions while keeping in view the changing political situation. We will take a good decision," he reportedly told the residents of Kahror Pakka tehsil of Lodhran in Punjab recently. One finds a kind of commonality between his thinking about the future of the ruling PTI and the ongoing national discourse on the appointment of ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) chief. Also, how much out of tune the PTI leadership is with realities on the ground there too Jahangir Khan Tareen is quite close to what the political opposition thinks of the Imran Khan government. Tareen urges the prime minister to put all other issues aside and try to rein in the spectre of inflation. But he remains pessimistic about Khan's abilities to cope with harsh realities on the ground, and says he has reached the conclusion that the prime minister is "no different from all other politicians". He vigorously insists that the prime minister went down in his estimation after he failed to deliver.

Be that as it may, it is only in our national politics that you commit a serious wrong and remain unpunished. Jahangir Khan Tareen, who was and perhaps still is the second to Prime Minister Khan in the PTI hierarchy, has, in our view implied what amounts to securing loyalties of Independent legislators for a consideration. Certainly, it was the offered consideration that won him their support and not the joy rides on his personal aircraft. His is an unqualified admission of the so-called 'Jor Tor' or hard and shrewd bargaining that he did, according to him, at the behest of his leader. This may not fit the definition of horse-trading as defined now in Pakistan but it certainly offends the spirit of democracy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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