• Central body says Shujaat’s poor health affecting affairs; secretary general ‘conspiring against PML-Q’
• Party spokesperson says Kamil Ali Agha not empowered to call CWC meeting
LAHORE: Just days after Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the party chief wrote a letter to PML-Q lawmakers in Punjab not to vote for his cousin, Parvez Elahi, in the recent chief minister’s election, the PML-Q central working committee on Thursday unanimously decided to remove Shujaat and federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema from their party positions.
The committee claimed the PML-Q chief was unable to take ‘prudent’ party decisions owing to his ill health and the latter was conspiring against and using the party for his personal interests.
The PML-Q committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Senator Kamil Ali Agha decided to hold fresh elections for top party positions within 10 days. It constituted a five-member election commission and appointed the party lawyers’ wing acting president, Jahangir A Jhoja, as the election commissioner. Mr Jhoja will also oversee the party’s organisational and administrative matters until the intra-party polls.
Referring to Chaudhry Shujaat’s letter directing the party MPAs to vote for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz, Senator Agha told the media after the meeting that all limits had been crossed to damage the party. “Is there any justification left to keep Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the party president and Tariq Bashir Cheema as secretary general?” he asked. “If the letter episode can happen, this can happen too.”
The senator further said the party central working committee meeting had been called after two-thirds of its members expressed their concerns that Shujaat’s poor health was affecting the party.
When contacted, Senator Agha told Dawn the CWC was the party’s high-powered committee that delegated its powers to the president, secretary general and other office-bearers, therefore it was empowered to remove any official with a majority vote. Mr Hussain was elected as party president for a four-year term in the intra-party polls held in February last year.
Stressing that there was no need to issue show-cause notices to both senior office-bearers, he said the requisition to call the CWC meeting in an emergency was made by 42 of its members though the body’s minimum quorum was 40 members. He further said 83 out of the total 150 members attended the meeting and passed all the resolutions, including about the removal of party president Shujaat and secretary general Cheema.
“The committee members had earlier asked the secretary general to call the CWC meeting and upon his refusal, I was asked to call it for being a senior member of the party,” Mr Agha explained.
Mr Tariq Bashir Cheema neither replied to Whatsapp messages nor responded to calls.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by a party spokesman from Islamabad claimed no decision was taken to call the party’s CWC meeting. “Senator Agha is the party’s Punjab chapter general secretary and therefore not empowered to take any decision against the party president,” the spokesman stated.
Citing the PML-Q constitution, the spokesman said no party meeting could be called without the consultation and will of the party president. “Neither any party office-bearer nor a member was informed, nor a notice issued to call the meeting,” the spokesman claimed and advised that rumours should be avoided.
During the presser, Senator Agha said the committee also passed a resolution that all PML-Q MPAs would vote for Muhammad Sibtain Khan, the PTI candidate for Punjab Assembly speaker, on Friday (today). It passed another resolution lauding the services rendered by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as speaker of the provincial legislature and hoped he would continue his good work for the welfare of people as the chief minister.
On the other hand, he condemned the removal of Chaudhry Shujaat’s pictures from the party secretariat and maintained no one could justify the action.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2022