PML-Q ready to rescue troubled PPP -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PML-Q ready to rescue troubled PPP

Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: The PML-Q will make up the loss to PPP caused by departure of the MQM and will work actively with PPP to keep the PML-N on toes in the Punjab Assembly, but will not join the Gilani government for fear of political losses.

In background discussions, PML-Q leaders said that after the formalization of the unification bloc (or turncoats) in the Punjab legislature that badly hurt their party, the Sharif brothers’ firm ‘no’ to break bread with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and the squeeze put by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Moonis Elahi forced a faction of the quisling League to stomach the bitter pill of holding a public meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.

They said they fully discerned the importance of the timing of president’s invitation for the dinner-meeting, which was extended when he was under pressure from the MQM, and their ties, even if improved momentarily through cosmetic measures, would not long last and finally result in parting of company.

“If Zardari felt cornered because of the MQM strategy, judicial decisions and the PML-NÂ’s throwing the PPP ministers out of the Punjab cabinet, we too were no better off. Our parliamentary party in the Punjab Assembly had become minority with the creation of the unification bloc, and faces the risk of a powerful onslaught from the Sharif brothers to take away whatever is left with us,” one PML-Q leader told The News.

He said that the meeting was not less than a blessing for Zardari for the mere fact that it was held at a time when no political party worth the name was in a mood to join hands with the president. Instead, his allies at the federal and provincial levels including the Jamiat Ulema-e- Islam (JUI) are constantly tormenting him, he said adding that the Chaudhrys no doubt took a bold though devastating decision.

The high point of the Zardari-Chaudhrys relations, which were strengthened during several secret meetings since late 2008 was the March 11 meeting of Shujaat Hussain led PML-Q delegation with the president and his team at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Obviously, there was not even a passing reference or mention of ZardariÂ’s incisive nomenclature, ‘Qatil (murderer) League,’ which he had given to this party in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, holding it responsible for the slaying.

PML-Q leaders say there are many among even those standing with the Chaudhrys in the split party, who are strongly opposed to siding with and providing props to a discredited and falling man. It was against this backdrop that the president made a special telephone call to PML-Q Secretary General Sayed Mushahid Hussain in Manila where he happened to be in connection with an international event, on the day the meeting was held at the Presidency, they say.

However, these leaders say by cementing relations with President Zardari, the Chaudhrys have given an apt and loud message to the Sharif brothers that they are prepared to go to any extent to teach the duo a lesson for its concerted bid to gobble down their party.

This relationship, they say, will show its results, which would be highly damning for the PML-N, in the next parliamentary elections. They said that the Presidency meeting was held just a few days before the PML-N was to announce a “general amnesty” for the “Q” Leaguers to come back to their mother party except of course nearly a dozen prominent leaders, who, it says, crossed all limits at the behest of Pervez Musharraf against the Sharif brothers.

These leaders said that Zardari’s effort was to keep this PML-Q faction stay intact and contest the next elections so that the split League vote inflicts a heavy damage on the PML-N. In exchange, they said, the PPP will not mind conceding certain seats to the PML-Q by not fielding candidates.
Source: The News