LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has decided to take up a host of issues with Prime Minister Imran Khan after Chief Minister Usman Buzdar failed to placate the Chaudhrys of Gujrat.
“There is a host of issues the PML-Q is having with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), particularly in Punjab. Our differences with the PTI have deepened as our party is being kept out of the consultative process. Now the time has come to take up the matter with PM Imran Khan to decide the future of the coalition,” PML-Q information secretary Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn on Saturday.
Chief Minister Buzdar on Friday night visited the residence of PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi after the lone minister of the party, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, in the Punjab cabinet handed over his resignation to the PML-Q leadership citing “undue interference” in his mines and mineral ministry by the PTI.
Punjab CM fails to placate Chaudhrys of Gujrat
Mr Buzadr’s effort to resolve the resignation issue could not succeed as he failed to convince Mr Elahi to ask Mr Yasir to withdraw his resignation.
“We joined the coalition in the best interest of the country, but we are not being taken into confidence in decision making. Our lawmakers are facing problems in solution of problems of the people of their constituencies. Besides, the PTI had promised us two ministries each in Punjab and the Centre, but it has yet to honour its commitment,” Mr Agha said.
In the coalition “no importance” was being given to the PML-Q, he said. “We have remained in coalitions in the past but have never faced such discrimination,” he said.
The PML-Q leader also complained about CM Buzdar’s “callous attitude” towards the issues raised by PML-Q lawmakers. “Despite problems of PML-Q MPAs being brought to the knowledge of the chief minister, no remedial measures have been taken to address them during the last two months,” he said.
“Instead of pushing the PML-Q against the wall, the PTI leadership should come forward and resolve the matter before it’s too late,” Mr Agha said.
In his resignation note, PML-Q minister Yasir had pointed out “unwarranted interference, undue pressure and hurdles” in his ministry since he assumed the portfolio over four months ago. “Owing to undue pressure and hurdles, I can no longer perform my duty, therefore, I resign,” the minister had stated.
Cracks within the ruling coalition started appearing this week after Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks about creating a forward bloc in the PML-Q that prompted a strong reaction from the party compelling him to apologise (to the Chaudhrys).
Both in Punjab and at the Centre, the PML-Q is an important ally with 10 MPAs and five MNAs, respectively. As the PTI is ruling, particularly in Punjab, with a thin majority, it may not afford to lose PML-Q support.
Earlier in the elections for the office of Punjab chief minister and president as well as Senate polls, the PML-Q leadership had reportedly made inroads in the opposition, particularly PML-Nawaz, and secured votes for the coalition candidates.
When contacted, the prime minister’s spokesman Nadeem Afzal Chan said that differences among the coalition partners were not unusual. “We [the PTI and PML-Q] will sit together and resolve the issues amicably,” he said, adding that there was no serious threat to the coalition.
Asked whether the prime minister had invited the Chaudhrys to discuss this matter with him, Mr Chan said: “Meetings between the prime minister and the PML-Q leadership have been held in the past and they can meet now as well to resolve the issues.”
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019