LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lawmakers on Monday termed the attitude of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition government at Centre and in Punjab ‘negative’ in their respective constituencies and asked the party leadership to decide the fate of the ruling coalition.
These views were expressed at a meeting attended by PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, members of the National Assembly Moonis Elahi, Salik Hussain, Hussain Elahi and Mrs Farrukh Khan. All 10 PML-Q members of the Punjab Assembly and a lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mufti Obaidur Rehman, were also present.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the party declared: “PML-Q lawmakers have expressed concern over ‘negative attitude’ of the federal and provincial governments in their respective constituencies and authorised Chaudhry Shujaat to take the decision [about future of the coalition].”
Talking to Dawn, a source said that the party legislators had told the leadership about the problems they were facing in solving problems in their constituencies.
PML-Q lawmakers term attitude of PTI’s govt at Centre, in Punjab ‘negative’
“They said even their lone minister was not empowered and the leadership must do something in this regard,” the source said, adding the lawmakers wanted their leadership to speak to Prime Minister Imran Khan in this regard.
The source further said the prime minister was likely to have a meeting with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat on his return from Qatar in a bid to address their concerns.
“We need assurance from the PTI about empowering our lawmakers to address the problems the people in their constituencies have been facing.
“The PTI leadership will also be asked to give two ministries each in Punjab and at the Centre according to its earlier commitment,” he said, adding that it was decided that the PML-Q would demand that it should not be kept out of consultative process by its coalition partners, particularly the PTI.
Cracks within the ruling coalition started appearing last week after federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry remarked about creating a forward bloc in the PML-Q that prompted a strong reaction from the party compelling him to apologise.
Subsequently, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, the lone minister of the PML-Q in the Punjab cabinet, handed over his resignation to the party leadership citing “undue interference” in his mines and mineral ministry by the PTI.
Chief Minister Usman Buzadr’s effort to resolve the resignation issue could not succeed, as he failed to convince the Punjab Assembly speaker to ask his party member, Mr Yasir, to withdraw his resignation.
Both in Punjab and at 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 be able to 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.
In Monday’s meeting, the participants also expressed grave concern over the Sahiwal tragedy and demanded exemplary punishment to those responsible.
The meeting expressed deep concern over mounting price hike and demanded that the government take immediate steps to provide relief to the people.
Through another resolution, the party called for taking immediate steps to curb increasing crimes across the country.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019