ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: A day after Parvez Elahi hinted at merger of his Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Monday served a show-cause notice on the Punjab chief minister and also suspended his party membership.

On the other hand, the PML-Q electoral college office-bearers authorised Mr Elahi, the party’s provincial president, to take decisions on behalf of the party with regard to its merge into the PTI on its chairman Imran Khan’s offer.

Former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat took the decision after a meeting of the PML-Q senior leaders held on Sunday late night. The show-cause notice stated that the meeting took “strict notice” of Mr Elahi’s comments regarding the party’s possible merger with the PTI. “An explanation of your [Parvez Elahi’s] unconstitutional and illegal action has been sought,” it read.

The notice said the PML-Q, as a political party, has its own identity, vote bank, party discipline and manifesto — which were all violated by Mr Elahi’s comments.

Party president sends show-cause to outgoing CM; ‘electoral college’ authorises Elahi to take decisions on party’s behalf

The notice gave the former Punjab CM seven days to provide an explanation for his comments, otherwise proceedings would be initiated against him under articles 16 and 50 of the party’s constitution. Mr Elahi’s basic party membership was being suspended until the explanation was provided, it added.

The show-cause notice was also sent to Moonis, Hussain Elahi and Senator Kamil Ali Agha, saying it was found that they were joining another party with the ex-CM. The notice said their National Assembly and Senate seats were a trust of the PML-Q with them and their move to join another party would be unconstitutional.

“If any of them wanted to join another party then they should relinquish their positions and resign, otherwise the PML-Q would have no other option but to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan to de-seat them,” it added.

The notice also gave them seven days to provide an explanation.

‘We are with Elahi’

While declaring that Parvez Elahi is their leader, the PML-Q office-bearers at their meeting, however, suggested that he consult party’s leaders at the district level.

“The consultation for the future plan of action has started and a decision will be taken after developing complete consensus,” acknowledged Mr Elahi.

The meeting held at Mr Elahi’s residence in Lahore discussed the merger offer given by the PTI chairman. The leaders arrived at the conclusion that Mr Elahi enjoys complete authority to take decisions on behalf of the party.

On the suggestions put forth by the office-bearers, the meeting urged the PML-Q provincial president to extend the consultation process to the party’s district-level leadership. The meeting decided that the party would hold consultation meetings with all district office-bearers to arrive at a consensus decision. It was agreed that a meeting of the office-bearers would be convened at the Muslim League House to be addressed by Parvez Elahi.

PML-Q women wing president Khadija Farooqui was directed to begin the consultation process with women office-bearers. The party would also hold consultations with all its wings, including lawyers, labour, minority, youth, scholars, farmers, culture, traders and doctors.

“We are with Chaudhry Parvez Elahi with full political and public power, and he is our leader,” the leaders asserted and maintained that the ideal alliance between the PML-Q and PTI had truly delivered to the people under the leadership of Mr Elahi.

The meeting was attended by Chaudhary Wajahat Hussain, MNA Hussain Elahi, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, Bao Rizwan, Shujaat Nawaz Ajlana, Abdullah Yusuf, Sajid Ahmad Khan Bhatti, Dr Afzal, Chaudhry Ehsanul Haq, Mian Imran Masood, Basma Chaudhary, Khadija Farooqui, Khurram Manwar Manj and Ayaz Khan Niazi.

On Sunday, Parvez Elahi talked about a possible merger of the PML-Q with the PTI. At one point, Mr Elahi was more candid in his response, saying his son Moonis also wanted both parties to merge and proceed in politics with a consensus. “Any such merger will strengthen the party,” he had said.

Differences in the PML-Q ranks first appeared in March last year around the time of a no-confidence motion against former PM Imran Khan as Mr Elahi and Moonis entered the PTI camp, while Shujaat Hussain joined the then-opposition.

The same split was witnessed during Punjab CM’s election in July as Mr Hussain backed PML-N’s candidate Hamza Shehbaz instead of Mr Elahi.

Amid a widening rift between the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, Shujaat Hussain had extended an olive branch in August to Parvez Elahi, asking him to put an end to differences.

The PML-Q leader had talked in detail about the reasons that led to the discord between him and his cousin.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2023

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