Shehbaz visits Chaudhry Shujaat after 14 years, seeks support against govt

Published February 14, 2022
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (C) meets PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (C-R) and provincial president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi (C-L) on Sunday. — Photo via Parvez Elahi Twitter
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (C) meets PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (C-R) and provincial president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi (C-L) on Sunday. — Photo via Parvez Elahi Twitter

LAHORE: The PML-N approached government ally PML-Q on Sunday after 14 long years to seek its support in sending the government packing.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif along with senior party leaders visited PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and provincial president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, explaining that the nine-party opposition alliance—with the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leading from the front—had made a “firm decision” to move a no-trust motion against the government in the coming days.

Mr Sharif believed that political temperature was heating up and the opposition parties were now on the path to woo the government allied parties, which too were not comfortable with the performance of the sitting government in terms of poor governance and unbridled inflation that had already pushed masses against the wall.

Sources said the Chaudhrys of Gujrat acknowledged that happening days could be seen ahead and they would also be holding party meetings to discuss the overall political situation and go into further discussions to come up with a consensus plan to move ahead in the current political turmoil.

“The PML-Q will decide about its plan of action in the best interest of the country,” a source quoted Chaudhrys as saying.

Sources said the Chaudhrys expressed their grievances against the Sharifs that brewed up during the past one and a half decades since Mr Shehbaz cancelled a lunch invitation from Mr Elahi at the eleventh hour.

They said the trust deficit between the two parties persisted, though the back-door diplomacy over the past few years had softened the hard feelings. Mr Elahi, being the speaker of Punjab Assembly, had continued issuing production orders for Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz despite PTI government’s annoyance.

Mr Sharif also acknowledged that PML-Q was the only government ally that had supported and raised voice that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif be allowed to travel abroad to seek medical treatment way back in November 2019.

It is reliably learnt that Mr Elahi expressed his apprehensions that the PML-Q was not seeing unity in the ranks of all opposition parties and they must set their house in order, as they faced humiliation whenever they tried a planned move against the sitting government and referred to two events in the Senate where it failed despite having winning numbers.

There was no official word from both the parties though the PML-Q sent a news release, stating the current political situation were discussed in detail during the meeting.

However, sources said the PML-Q was weighing its options after detailed meetings with PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman and government ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s leaders, who also went to meet Mr Shehbaz.

They said Mr Elahi disclosed some of the offers made by Mr Zardari and asked Mr Sharif to weigh options and let the talks channel open in the days to come.

The PML-N delegation comprised Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Tanvir, Shabbir Usmani and Attaullah, while PML-Q’s MNA Salik Hussain, Shafay Hussain, Rana Khalid and Muntaha Ashraf Marath were present in the meeting.

Govt’s reaction

Meanwhile, federal information and broadcasting minister Fawad Chaudhry has hurled a challenge to the joint opposition to bring a no-confidence motion and said even opposition legislators would give them surprise.

He also sarcastically said the thanedar (an SHO) had put Mr Sharif on his toes to compel running here and there to muster up support against the government.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the opposition had floated the no-trust motion stunt after its failed move of submitting mass resignations and holding a long march.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2022

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