LAHORE: In a significant move, the major opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) reached out to the Jahangir Tareen group — a disgruntled faction within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — and endorsed the latter’s stated stance of removing Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
“The PML-N and Jahangir Tareen group have agreed that CM Buzdar should be removed as the political and administrative matters in the province have suffered a severe blow during PTI’s rule in Punjab,” said a joint statement issued here on Monday.
Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and PML-N vice president Hamza Shehbaz visited the Tareen group members when they were holding their group’s scheduled meeting on the instructions of their leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, who is recovering from a medical condition in the United Kingdom. Mr Tareen is expected to return home next week.
On the other hand, PML-Q leader and federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi telephoned Jahangir Tareen’s son Ali Tareen and enquired after the health of his father and prayed for his early recovery.
As consultations between groups and parties are picking up momentum following the tabling of a no-trust resolution by the opposition against Prime Minister Imran Khan, the ruling PTI’s allies — PML-Q, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) — met at the residence of PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in Islamabad. They discussed developing a joint strategy with regard to the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
At Jahangir Tareen’s residence, Hamza Shehbaz and members of his delegation were received by Tareen group’s leader Awn Chaudhry and other members. They discussed the prevailing political situation in the wake of fast approaching fateful day of voting on no-confidence motion against PM Khan.
They also discussed administrative matters in Punjab and expressed grave concern over the unbridled price hike, joblessness and ever-increasing corruption pointing at the poor administrative control of CM Buzdar in the province.
Hamza Shehbaz also enquired after the health of Jahangir Tareen and prayed for his early recovery. The meeting agreed that they should continue meeting and holding discussion and come up with a joint strategy to control the political and administrative situation in Punjab.
Earlier, the Tareen group members met in Model Town. Awn Chaudhry informed them about the group’s meeting with PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. He also told them that some government ministers were also approaching the group and requesting for removing misunderstandings. “The group members were of the opinion that they should not take government side at this point of time,” sources told Dawn.
Interestingly, Hamza Shehbaz’s spokesman Imran Goraya said the meeting decided that Hamza would be made the Punjab CM but soon afterwards retracted and added that he would be considered as chief minister after the next general elections.
It is learnt that the government ministers are also contacting Aleem Khan, who has not yet taken any clear stance, to address his reservations.
Though Aleem camp members said they were waiting for a final strategy of the Tareen group, the group senior leader Ishaq Khakwani told the media that Aleem Khan himself came to Jahangir Tareen’s residence to meet the group members but could not sustain his point of view even for a few hours.
Mr Khakwani said Jahangir Tareen was fast recovering and would hopefully reach Pakistan early next week. He said Mr Tareen had started participating in political discussions on phone.
Though his group members are not interested in restoring contacts with the government, Mr Khakwani suggested that Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen were friends and they should talk to each other. He reportedly alleged that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had played a negative role in the party.
Meanwhile, federal Minister for Narcotics Control retired Brigadier Ijaz Shah and PTI leader Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind met PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi at their residence.
Moonis Elahi, MNAs Salik Hussain and Hussain Elahi and provincial minister Hafiz Ammar Yasir were also present.
Mr Shah and Mr Rind enquired after the health of Chaudhry Shujaat. The current political situation in the country, coalition government and issues relating to Balochistan came under discussion during the meeting.
“We have an in-depth look at the current political situation on which continuous consultations are being carried out,” Parvez Elahi said.
Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2022