LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari has offered the post of Punjab governor to provincial president of Pakistan Muslim League-F Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood and the offer has been accepted.
“President Zardari today offered me Punjab governorship which I have accepted,” Mr Mahmood told Dawn after meeting the president in Karachi.
Mr Mahmood, who will replace Sardar Latif Khosa, said he had discussed the matter with the chief of his party Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi before accepting the offer. A source said President Zardari wanted a man like Makhdoom Mahmood in Punjab because of his ‘good relations’ with PML-N leaders.
“Besides, President Zardari thinks he will be instrumental in installing a consensus caretaker set-up in Punjab because of being in the good books of the Sharifs,” he said.
Differences cropped up between the PML-F and PML-N following the latter’s ‘solo flight’ in Sindh and south Punjab to woo some ‘strong individuals’.
“The PML-N started annoying the PML-F when it welcomed people like former MNA Ahmed Anwar from Khanpur and former minister of state Raees Munir from Sadiqabad without consulting me,” Mr Mahmood said.
“If the PML-N does not want to consult us regarding its political arrangements in south Punjab and Sindh then we too don’t need it,” said the influential landlord who is an MPA from Rahimyar Khan.
The PPP was advised to woo the PML-F when its relations with the PML-N deteriorated.
The Functional League also showed its strength recently by holding a large meeting in Hyderabad.
“We were not expecting the PML-N to ignore us while taking certain political figures into its fold. We have also made it clear to everyone that the PML-F will contest the coming polls with its own symbol, flower,” Mr Mahmood said.
The PML-F’s decision may be a setback for the PML-N which was desperately looking for the former’s support to put up a better show in Sindh.
Mr Mahmood is a cousin of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.