LAHORE: Just when Nawaz Sharif and his team are vociferously asking the judiciary to bring former president Pervez Musharraf back to try him for treason under Article 6, the disqualified prime minister has embraced Mushahid Hussain Syed, one of the vocal supporters of the former military dictator.
After his 17-year-long journey with PML-Q led by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, the outgoing Senator said it goodbye and joined the PML-N.
He announced joining the hands of his former boss (Nawaz) after meeting him at his Jati Umra residence on Sunday. Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique were also present in the meeting. Mr Sharif said, “Mr Syed will prove an asset to the PML-N”.
After the meeting, Saad Rafique tweeted that Mushahid Hussain had joined the PML-N ‘unconditionally’, apparently dispelling the impression that the party leadership had promised him (Syed) a Senate ticket for the election in March.
“Mushahid Hussain Syed’s inclusion in the PML-N will strengthen the party’s democratic struggle. He is an able and intellectual politician,” said the minister. If given the Senate ticket (from PML-N), Mushahid would become a senator for the fourth time.
After paying a visit to Nawaz Sharif, Mushahid Hussain Syed called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Model Town who greeted him on returning to the party.
Shahbaz said: “Mr Syed’s confidence in our leadership is the proof that the PML-N is the actual representative of the masses that wins the hearts of people with its public service. The PML-N will sweep 2018 election”.
He added that Mushahid was expected to play a proactive role in PML-N’s political and electoral campaign in the coming months.
In a statement to Dawn, Mushahid Hussain Syed said Nawaz had invited him to join the PML-N and he accepted the invitation.
“At this critical juncture, Mian Sahib deserves full support in the struggle to preserve and strengthen democracy, particularly the sanctity of the ballot and supremacy of parliament, protect national defence and security. Mian Sahib was instrumental in the 1998 nuclear tests overcoming all foreign pressure, and Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan, the first CT strategy in the country’s history, were launched in his tenure as the prime minister. He also played a pivotal role to promote Pakistan’s development via China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”
Mushahid did not reply to Dawn’s questions regarding the ‘reasons’ behind his joining the PML-N and the Sharifs’ change of hearts for him.
PML-Q information secretary Senator Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn the only reason of Mr Mushahid’s joining the PML-N was ‘opportunism’. “Mr Syed was looking for an appropriate time to switch loyalty. As his current tenure as Senator is about to over, he ditched the Chaudhrys and joined the Sharifs,” he said and added that Mushahid had been flattering Nawaz and for the last one-and-a-half years he had been working for the Sharifs. “The PML-Q leadership already knew his moves,” he said.
Climate Change Minister and PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan told Dawn that Mr Syed was the ‘most useful person’ with regard the CPEC and Nawaz Sharif needed persons like him.
To a question about awarding him a Senate ticket, the minister said: “I personally think that Mr Syed should be in parliament to play an effective role regarding the CPEC and other issues”.
In both governments of Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s, Mushahid Syed was adviser to the prime minister. In 1997, he got elected as senator first time on PML-N platform.
After Musharraf’s coup against Mr Sharif’s government in Oct 1999, Mr Syed was arrested. Later, he joined Musharraf and became his vocal supporter.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2018