ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), a key ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at the Centre and in Punjab, on Sunday sought more time for consultations before making a final decision on the issue of no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan, stating that it wanted all the allies to make a collective decision.
“We will try to come out with our decision in a day or two,” declared PML-Q leader and federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema while talking to reporters after a meeting of the PML-N delegation with PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
The meeting between the leaders of the two parties was held exactly at the time when Prime Minister Imran Khan was delivering his speech at Parade Ground and hours after the announcement by Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief Shahzain Bugti to quit the ruling coalition.
Wants all govt allies to make a collective decision on no-trust
“Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the other two allies of the government, have their own issues. We also have some issues. But since we are smaller parties, it is our desire that we all make a collective decision regarding support to the opposition so that we can have a strong defence line,” said Mr Cheema.
“There will be more consultations and we will try to make the decision within a day or two,” declared Mr Cheema in response to a query of a reporter regarding the delay in decision-making by the party.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique said they had come to meet Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the PML-Q leaders as “they know the affairs of state in a better way”.
Recalling the time when the Chaudhrys were also part of the PML-N, Mr Rafique said that he had worked with the Chaudhrys under one flag in the past. He said the two sides had agreed to continue consultative process.
In reply to a question, Mr Rafique denied reports in some media circles that PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif had rejected the idea of offering the Punjab chief minister’s office to Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
When asked as to what offer the PML-N had given to the Chaudhrys, Mr Rafique said the opposition had not submitted the no-trust resolution for any “political bargain or give and take”. He said they had come to the PML-Q leadership to convince them that it had become necessary to send the present government packing in the wake of the prevailing political and economic situation.
The PML-N leader alleged that the PTI government had ruined the country’s economy and had failed to deliver. He regretted that instead of talking about performance, Prime Minister Imran Khan was still using abusive language against the opposition.
On Saturday, a government team led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a last ditch effort to woo the allies had met the PML-Q leadership in Lahore.
After the meeting, a PML-Q leader had claimed that Mr Qureshi had given his words that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would be asked to resign in a day or two, and that Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was the PTI government’s preferred choice for his replacement.
After some news channels quoted sources as saying that Mr Buzdar had prepared a summary to dissolve the Punjab Assembly, a PML-Q leader claimed: “The Punjab Assembly will not be dissolved, but a change of leader of the house is on the cards.”
He claimed that the PML-Q had told the government team to make a formal announcement regarding Mr Elahi as the candidate for the CM before going for vote.
A PML-Q spokesman later said the government team assured them that they would inform Prime Minister Khan about the entire situation. Later, a PML-Q delegation headed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi called on PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and discussed the prevailing political situation.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2022