LAHORE: The PML-Q, the king’s party of Musharraf regime, is working ‘overtime’ to get ruling PML-N nominee Sardar Ayaz Sadiq elected unopposed as speaker of the National Assembly.

Elections for the important slot are scheduled for Monday (today).

Besides Mr Ayaz Sadiq himself, Q League senior leader and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is also approaching the other opposition parties, including the PPP, PTI, MQM and Jamaat-i-Islami, to convince them for electing the speaker without any formal balloting.

The PTI has fielded MNA Shafqat Mahmood for the office, while independent MPs from FATA, who were earlier supporting Mr G G Jamal, reportedly withdrew in favour of Mr Sadiq on Sunday evening.

The PTI, though having support of just 33 MNAs in a house of 342, is determined to contest the polls in the name of democratic process.

The JI, junior partner of the PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, held a meeting of party elders at its secretariat here on Sunday, presided over by its emir Senator Sirajul Haq and empowered its parliamentary party to take a decision on the issue. The JI’s parliamentary leader, Tariqullah, was also present in the meeting.

This sudden change of heart on the part of the PML-Q comes as a surprise to many, for Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is considered as a sworn enemy of the Sharifs since he changed loyalty after the ouster of the Sharifs by the then army chief Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

All efforts to re-unite the two influential families remained abortive in the past, though in one such attempt Shahbaz Sharif had invited Pervaiz Elahi and cousin Chaudhry Shujaat to a luncheon meeting. The invitation was later cancelled at the 11th hour back in march 2009 in a mockery of the eastern traditions.

The last contact between the two sides was reported when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had phoned Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain after PTI and PAT announced their protest plan in August 2014.

Moonis Elahi, son of Pervaiz Elahi, says they are supporting Ayaz Sadiq and not the N League.

But many believe that this move is part of yet another reconciliation attempt as the group that was against the re-inclusion of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat in the PML-N, mainly led by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, has reportedly got weakened.

According to an analyst, this is the most appropriate time to embrace the Chaudhrys back into the PML-N folds for they are in a weak position.

Back in the 1990’s the Sharifs had promised to give the slot of Punjab chief minister to the Chaudhrys in case the party managed to form government in the centre. But the promise was never materialised.

A PML-N leader also claims that some “saner voices” in the party are also arguing that as for the sake of their political future the Chaudhrys are actively pursuing various players like Musharraf and Pir Sahib Pagaro of Sindh to forge an anti-government alliance it’ll be better to re-include them into the party.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2015

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