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Setback for PML-N in South Punjab as Khosa leaves party

August 03, 2012

LAHORE, Aug 3: Punjab’s former chief minister Dost Mohammad Khosa resigned on Friday from the basic PML-N membership in protest against what he said attempts by the Shahbaz government to malign the Khosas.

But, he said, he would retain his Punjab Assembly seat from Dera Ghazi Khan. His father, senior party leader Senator Sardar Zulfikar Ali Khosa, had earlier tendered his resignation as senior adviser to the chief minister.

The Khosas accuse Shahbaz Sharif of being behind the case registered against Dost Mohammed for allegedly murdering his ex-wife, actress Sapna, and publication of reports that he had taken away precious furniture while vacating his official residence in Sept 2011.

The communication and works department recently issued a letter to Dost Mohammed asking him to either return the Rs4 million furniture or pay the cost.

“A bogus murder case was registered against me,” he told a questioner at a press conference, adding that had he been a thief (of official furniture) he would not have dared to face the media. “This is part of propaganda to cover up his (Shahbaz’s) inefficiency.”

Criticising the chief minister for keeping 20 portfolios, he said the provincial government was a one-man show. Referring to the resignation of the senior Khosa, he said his father had relinquished the charge of senior adviser because of the same flawed practice.

Recalling the services rendered by his father for the party in difficult times, he said his father had been with the party for 29 years and never betrayed its leadership.

He confirmed reports that some PML-N leaders were reaching out to Zulfikar Khosa for reconciliation. “Nawaz Sharif himself should intervene because the man calling the shots in the province (Shahbaz) was playing in the hands of bureaucrats”. But, he said, Nawaz didn’t have time to meet party loyalists.

A PML-N official privy to the reconciliation efforts told Dawn that Dera Ghazi Khan’s district politics was also a factor besides the murder case and the ‘theft’ reports against the Khosas.

He claimed that the Khosas had demanded a portfolio for Hissam Khosa, who was recently elected to the Punjab Assembly seat vacated by his father after his election as Senator. They wanted a say in the appointment of DIG, SSP and DC in Dera Ghazi Khan, he added.

But a close aide of the senior Khosa denied that the Khosas were demanding anything but respect from the Sharifs.

He said the Khosas had nothing against Nawaz, but they believed that Shahbaz and Hamza Shahbaz were annoying party leaders with their ‘follies’.

He claimed that a large group, including a couple of ministers, was ready to leave the PML-N if Nawaz did not intervene.

A party leader said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar was actively working for reconciliation with the Khosas.

However, some people around the party chief were against a patch-up. “They are advising Nawaz to take disciplinary action against the Khosas,” he added.

Nawaz did not invite Zulfikar Khosa for a meeting till late Friday evening although there were reports that such an effort will be made after the PML-N chief’s return from Murree.