LAHORE: As Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman reached out to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s important ally PML-Q on Saturday to gain its support to dislodge the Imran Khan government, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif is expected to meet his old-time rivals, the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, on Sunday (today).
The nine-party opposition alliance with mainstream PML-N and JUI-F leading from the front has been active to reach out and persuade the ruling PTI’s ally parties after it made a ‘firm decision’ to move a no-trust motion against the government in coming days.
In a related development, Maulana Fazl also spoke to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari by telephone and told him about PDM’s consensus on the no-confidence motion. Both the leaders pledged to work jointly to make this move a success.
The Maulana, who is also the chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F), visited the Gulberg residence of PML-Q leaders — Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi — and persuaded them to seriously consider the PDM’s request to part ways with the government.
“Citing his good relations with the Chaudhrys, the Maulana said the ally party (PML-Q) will have to say goodbye to the government alliance for the sake of the people who have been suffering immensely because of poor policies of the government. Like the PTI, its allies will face the wrath of the masses if they continue sticking to (prime minister) Imran Khan,” a source told Dawn after the meeting.
“The meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere but the Chaudhrys made no commitment. However, they sought time to respond to the PDM offer,” he said.
On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif is going to see the Chaudhrys on Sunday (today) at their residence here, which will be a first leadership level contact between the two parties after a long time.
“The opposition leader in the National Assembly conveyed to the Chaudhrys that he would like to come to their residence to inquire after the health of Chaudhry Shujaat on Sunday (today),” a PML-N leader told Dawn.
“It will be a kind of ice breaking meeting between the junior Sharif and the Chaudhrys that may culminate into a political partnership in the future,” the PML-N leader expressed the hope.
“PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has given a go-ahead to Shehbaz with certain mandate to be offered to PML-Q leadership in case of its support to the PDM’s plan,” he said.
PML-Q’s federal ministers — Tariq Bashir Cheema and Moonis Elahi — were not present in the meeting with the Maulana and they are likely to skip meeting with Shehbaz as well as they are out of town.
After the meeting, the PML-Q issued a statement saying “political situation in the country and issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting. And Maulana Fazlur Rehman inquired after the health of Chaudhry Shujaat and prayed for his complete recovery.”
On Friday, the opposition alliance had announced bringing a no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government and for the purpose its (government) allies would be persuaded.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022