LAHORE: The PML-N says it has taken the statement of PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi regarding ‘not leaving its senior coalition partner (PTI)’ in the face of the opposition’s no-trust move against Prime Minister Imran as “political,” saying its efforts to have the government allies on board will continue.
The PPP, however, is of the view that such a statement foretells the ‘departure of the government’. Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi said on Monday at a function in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad that the political environment was a bit strange these days but there was nothing substantial in it.
“A tamasha (show) is going on whatever talks are being held (between PML-Q and the opposition). We are political people and it is our job to meet people and welcome those who come to our house,” Moonis said and added the important thing to understand was that political people formed relationships and then saw them through. “We have formed a relationship with you (PM Khan) and will see it through. So, it is my request that you tell the PTI in a firm way, ‘aap ne ghabrana nahi hai’ (you should not worry),” the minister told the premier.
Reacting to Moonis’ statement, PML-N deputy secretary general Attaullah Tarar said: “We have taken Moonis’ statement as political. In politics such statements are a routine. PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif visited PML-Q leadership – Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Parvez Elahi – last Sunday and had a very cordial meeting. And such meetings are expected to take place in the future,” Mr Tarar told Dawn. Tarar was also present in the Shehbaz-Chaudhrys meeting.
When asked whether PML-N received a ‘clear reply’ in Moonis’ statement for its efforts to woo the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, Tarar said: “No… in politics such statements are a routine affair. The opposition is firm in its moves and will oust the PTI government soon. ”
PPP senior leader Chaudhry Manzoor said the PPP read Moonis’ statement as asking the premier to tell his party lawmakers not to worry. “But time has come that they (PTI lawmakers) have to be worried as this government is being sent home. And when such a situation arises, the government allies jump the ship,” Mr Manzoor told Dawn.
PPP senior leader Qamar Zaman Kaira told a private TV that Mr Moonis should not have called the political meetings a tamasha.
PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said the opposition was not worried. The allies would have to say goodbye to the government alliance for the sake of the people who had been suffering immensely, he said. “Like the PTI, its allies will face the wrath of the masses if they continue sticking to (prime minister) Imran Khan,” he said.
Opposition leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif had, on Sunday, called on the Chaudhrys in Lahore for the first time in 14 years to explain that the nine-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement — with the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leading from the front — had made a ‘firm decision’ to move a no-trust motion against the Imran Khan government in the coming days.
Apart from Mr Shehbaz, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had called on the Chaudhrys and sought their support to oust the government.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Maulana Fazlur Rehman had met PTI disgruntled leader Jehangir Khan Tareen last Friday and sought the support of his group. Reportedly, Tareen has the backing of 30 PTI MPAs from south Punjab and eight MNAs. It is said that some common friends had arranged the Fazl-Tareen meeting in Lahore. However, Tareen did not give any commitment to Fazl and sought time for a reply. Tareen group’s spokesperson MNA Raja Riaz was not available for a comment.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2022