Trouble for govt coalition as PML-Q skips lunch with PM

Published November 6, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File

ISLAMABAD: Amid the opposition’s movement against the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met government allies who piled up complaints before him regarding non-provision of development funds, price hike and keeping them away from decision-making.

The prime minister faced a difficult situation during a lunch he hosted for the government-allied parties, which was not attended by the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) whose leader Monis Elahi later in a meaningful tweet said his party’s alliance with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was “for the vote and not for lunch”.

On the other hand, the prime minister assured the leaders of allied parties that all their issues would be resolved soon as he was personally reviewing them.

The opposition under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) launched a movement last month to topple the government on issues of price hike, “unstable” economic situation and rights of the provinces.

Government’s allies pile up complaints about non-provision of development funds, price hike and keeping them away from decision making

The allied parties which attended the luncheon reception included the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Grand Democratic Alliance and Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP). They complained about lack of development funds, price hike, missing parsons and not keeping them on board in decision making.

The reception was also attended by leaders of the Balochistan Awami Party, some federal ministers, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani.

Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema of the PML-Q, while talking to Dawn, said his party was not taken on board in decision making by the Center.

A source in the PML-Q said the party had also complained that the prime minister usually visited Lahore but never met Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. “He [prime minister] did not even inquire about the health of ailing PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat,” the source said.

Mr Cheema said the PML-Q had nothing to show to the people what achievement had so far been made by the government. “It will become quite difficult for us to further go along PTI, if the ruling party does not mend its ways,” he added.

MQM leader Aminul Haq said his party chief Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had expressed disappointment over the government’s attitude towards fulfillment of the party’s demands. He said his party had raised the issue of missing MQM workers and slow pace of implementation on the Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Plan.

“Mr Siddiqui said what answer we can give to the families of missing MQM workers. The government has given a mammoth development package to Karachi, but nothing is being seen on ground. It’s still dark there and this darkness has been conveyed to the prime minister,” Mr Haq added.

Later, in a private TV show, Mr Siddiqui said his party particularly and other government allies did not want to topple the government amid the opposition’s movement against the government. “We will not become a part of any move to topple the government,” he added.

Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr Fahmida Mirza raised the issue of lack of development activities in her hometown Badin and central parts of Sindh. She said the federal government institutions and ministers were not serious about addressing the problems of central Sindh.

JWP chief Shahzain Bugti also raised the issue of missing persons in Balochistan, especially those belonging to his party. He said many missing parsons of other parties in Balochistan had been recovered, but no one so far from his party.

The prime minister assured the allies that he would address all the problems mentioned by them. He said the allies would see something practical on the matters. Mr Khan also discussed with the allies the opposition’s movement against the government and reiterated that he would not give any NRO-like ordinance to the opposition leaders involved in mega corruption and money laundering.

Talking about the unprecedented inflation in the country, the prime minister said he was personally reviewing the situation and assured them that prices would become stable in the days to come.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, while talking to Dawn, said the prime minister was of the view that the government should not initiate those projects which would provide temporary benefits to the allies and the PTI in elections, but those which would give deep effect on the country’s economy.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2020

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