ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Tuesday met Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss coalition-related issues.
Sources told Dawn that the PML-Q president, who was accompanied by the party’s secretary general and federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema, expressed his reservations over exclusion of his party from the consultations on national issues.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq, who had remained engaged with the PML-Q in the past to sort out issues between the two parties, was also present in the meeting.
The sources said that there had been resentment within the PML-Q ranks against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for not honouring some of the commitments which the PTI had made with the PML-Q at the time of forming an alliance at the Centre and in Punjab soon after the elections in July last year.
Sources say PML-Q president expressed reservations over his party’s exclusion from consultations on national issues
Since the election of Moonis Elahi, the son of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, and Salik Hussain, the son of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, in by-polls on the National Assembly seats from Gujrat and Chakwal in October last year, the PML-Q had been demanding another post in the federal cabinet. Presently, Mr Cheema is the only PML-Q man in the cabinet of PM Khan. The PML-Q reportedly wants a ministry at the Centre for Moonis Elahi.
Downplaying the Imran-Shujaat meeting, the PML-Q in its official handout claimed that it was a “routine meeting” between the two leaders in which they discussed the “overall political situation” in the country and “the border tension between Pakistan and India”.
Besides this, it said, the two leaders also discussed the issues related to overseas Pakistanis.
“The top leadership of the two parties stressed the need for increasing consultations between the two parties,” it said, adding that Chaudhry Shujaat praised the “leadership qualities” of the prime minister in the present situation.
When contacted, PML-Q central information secretary and former senator Kamil Ali Agha said that Chaudhry Shujaat in his meeting with the prime minister had drawn the attention of the government to the problems of the common man in the country. He said the PML-Q chief had informed the prime minister about the difficulties being faced by the people due to exorbitant gas and electricity bills. He said that the PML-Q chief had also highlighted the problems being faced by the people due to the growing unemployment in the country.
Mr Agha said Chaudhry Shujaat had talked about the steps for “providing relief to the common man”.
Responding to a question, Mr Agha agreed that there had been a feeling within the PML-Q ranks that the two parties were lacking in consultations on major national issues.
Mr Agha said that the PML-Q chief had advised the prime minister to allow the shifting of PML-N supreme leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, currently facing jail sentence in the Al-Azizia corruption case, to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi for treatment.
When asked about the party’s demand for another ministry at the Centre, he said the PML-Q had the right to have another ministry and this commitment must have been fulfilled. He, however, denied reports that the party had already floated the name of Moonis Elahi as the new member of the federal cabinet.
“Media highlight such things to create hype,” he alleged.
Despite repeated attempts, no one from the PTI could be contacted for comments.
Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019