GUJRAT: The lawmakers belonging to the four major allied parties of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have decided to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan to share their grievances with him once the budget gets approved by the National Assembly, sources told Dawn on Wednesday.
The National Assembly members belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quiad (PML-Q), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had gathered at the Islamabad residence of the party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain last week (June 12) where they expressed their concern over the PTI government’s policy towards its allies.
When Dawn approached Shujaat Hussain, he confirmed that lawmakers of the four PTI allies had met at his residence.
Decision taken at meeting at Shujaat’s Islamabad residence
Sources said four federal ministers, including Tariq Basheer Cheema, Fahmeeda Mirza, Dr Zubaida Jalal and an independent MNA from Balochistan were also present in the consultative meeting that was attended by at least 18 MNAs of the four allied parties. It was presided over by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
According to the sources, it was decided in the meeting that the allies would firmly stand with the PTI government for approval of the budget despite having reservations with regard to the attitude of the ruling party towards them.
They said there was a consensus among the meeting participants that they would hold back their demands pertaining to the issues of their respective constituencies till the budget approval so that their grievances were not misconstrued as a “blackmailing tactic”.
However, after the budget approval, those who participated in the meeting would meet the premier in the form of a delegation to apprise him of their issues.
The sources said a woman lawmaker from Sindh suggested constitution of a permanent committee comprising lawmakers of the four allied parties to coordinate with the PTI leadership to help avoid any misunderstanding resulting in weakening of the coalition.
The participants also expressed their concerns over the price hike and worsening economic conditions of the country. When asked why any member of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, another coalition party of the PTI, did not attend the meeting, Shujaat Hussain said the BNP-M had yet to decide whether to stand with the government or the opposition, while the other four allies had a clarity regarding their support to the PTI government.
He said after the meeting the government had been conveyed that the four parties would support the budget proposals.
He added that a PTI delegation that had called on senior PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in Lahore the other day, was also assured of the PML-Q support for the PTI government’s budget proposals.
When asked about chances of PML-Q MNA and his nephew Moonis Elahi getting inducted in the federal cabinet, he said it was not the time to press for such demands as it could be considered as blackmail.
He, however, advised the government to take measures to overcome price hike, inflation and improve the economic conditions of the country, otherwise, the opposition parties could exploit the situation.
The former premier said the elements trying to create differences among the ruling coalition partners at this crucial stage of budget approval would never succeed.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019