Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz on Tuesday held a meeting with Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi while paying a visit to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid's (PML-Q) ailing leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at a hospital in Lahore to inquire about his health.
Hamza visited Shujaat at the Doctors Hospital and Medical Center where the latter is currently admitted. During the visit, Hamza met and spoke with Elahi as well as Chaudhry Salik Hussain (Shujaat's son).
"Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is a senior politician of the country and a very fine man," Hamza told reporters as he prayed for the PML-Q president's recovery.
The meeting comes amid reported tensions between the PML-Q and the ruling PTI, with the former being a coalition partner of the government.
During a recent meeting chaired by Elahi, the PML-Q's parliamentary party had admitted that it was becoming difficult with each passing day to continue supporting the PTI’s Punjab and federal governments while expressing concern over price hikes and inflation.
The parliamentary party members vented their anger against the government and said the common man was suffering and they were unable to face their voters in respective constituencies.
The PML-Q spokesman said the government had failed to resolve common people’s problems. He said the current circumstances would worsen problems if the government persisted with non-issues.
Last week, the government was forced to put off a joint session of parliament scheduled for November 11 (Thursday) after struggling to ensure the presence of the required number of members and due to reservations shown by its allies over the proposed electoral reforms bills regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and introduction of I-voting for overseas Pakistanis in the next polls.
Subsequently, Prime Minister Imran Khan had convened a meeting of the government allies — Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PML-Q — on Monday to gain support for the legislation. However, following the meeting, the coalition partners still remained uncertain about supporting the bills, including those related to EVMs and I-voting.
PML-Q Information Secretary Kamil Ali Agha had told Dawn that Elahi, who had attended the meeting at the Prime Minister’s House, had still not decided on whether the Q-League would support the bills.
The PML-Q leaders met in Lahore for two consecutive days (Sunday and Monday) and reached a conclusion that “it will be harmful for the party if it continues to stick with the ruling coalition”, Agha said.
He said the party had reservations about the government’s “faulty” economic policies, unprecedented price hike, sharp increase in the cost of petroleum products, shortage of gas and electricity, increasing corruption and lawlessness in the country.
However, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry insisted that the government's allies had expressed confidence in the leadership of the premier and assured him of voting in favour of the bills.
“Reservations of the coalition partners have been removed and the government had unanimously decided to convene a joint session of the parliament on Wednesday,” he said at a press conference on Monday night.