LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Chaudhrys of Gujrat at their residence here on Wednesday for the first time since he assumed the office over two years ago.
PM Khan’s visit to inquire after PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain may lead to improve the relations between the two allies, which had been strained for quite some time over a host of issues.
PML-Q is the only ally Mr Khan paid a personal visit to.
Upon his arrival at their residence in Gulberg, PML-Q MNA Moonis Elahi received the premier.
PM Khan met Chaudhry Shujaat and asked him about his health and wished him fast recovery. In the meeting, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, PML-Q MNAs - Moonis Elahi, Salik Hussain and Hussain Elahi - Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Shahbaz Gill, Shafay Hussain and Muhammad Khan Bhatti were also present.
Imran inquires after Shujaat; sources say visit aims at allaying ally’s concerns in the face of PDM protest drive
The premier held a separate meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat and Parvez Elahi for 30 or so minutes in which Mr Elahi reportedly told Imran about his party’s concerns. “The meeting helped thrash out the differences between the allies,” a party insider told Dawn.
He said Mr Elahi asked the premier to have a ‘direct dialing’ with the PML-Q leadership as those close to him were causing misunderstanding between the two allies. “Parvez Elahi did not seek a second federal ministry for his party as decided earlier in an agreement between the PTI and the PML-Q. Mr Elahi was more concerned about involving his party in important decision making,” he said.
Chaudhry Shujaat was admitted to hospital last week after his condition deteriorated because of a chest infection. PM Khan had then telephoned the Chaudhry family to inquire after his health.
Earlier, the PML-Q leadership had refused to attend PM Khan’s [dinner and luncheon] receptions for the allies as he did not bother to invite the Chaudhry brothers ‘directly’.
The main concern of the PML-Q leadership was that it was not taken onboard by the premier on important national issues. Besides, PML-Q would often blame “hypocrites and sycophants” around the prime minister who were giving Mr Khan ‘wrong advice.’
The PML-Q had also sought share in the administration in constituencies where its (PML-Q) lawmakers had won, and empowerment of its ministers and implementation of the agreement inked by both parties prior to the 2018 elections. The Buzdar administration had somehow obliged his government’s ally that has 10 lawmakers in Punjab.
Under the agreement between PTI and PML-Q, the latter was to be given two ministries each in the Centre and Punjab. The PTI has yet to implement this agreement.
Sources said PM Khan paid a visit to the Chaudhrys primarily to allay their concerns in the face of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) protest drive as his government could not afford to lose an important ally at this stage.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020