LAHORE: The latest developments on political scene of the country show that relations between political opponents, the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and the Sharifs, are warming, and there are chances of a new political alliance in the days to come.
Also, there are reports that bitterness between the Chaudhry brothers is decreasing, with contacts restoring at a certain level, which might pave the way for some new political alliances with the political opponents.
Sources said Chuadhry Shujaat group in PMLQ and PMLN have sprung into action to bring an in-house change in Punjab amid claims that six members of PMLQ Parvez Elahi bloc are ready to join the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
An important development took place on Saturday when Federal Minister for Board of Investment Chaudhry Salik Hussain held a crucial meeting with PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif in London. The two leaders discussed the matters pertaining to Punjab’s political situation and PTI’s announcement that it would dissolve the Punjab and KP assemblies.
In a media talk after the meeting with Nawaz Sharif, Salik said the deposed premier did not tell him the exact date of his return to Pakistan. He said that in the next general election, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain would lead the PMLQ campaign. He said Moonis Elahi did not take him into confidence when he joined Imran Khan’s bloc. “Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and I are ready to talk to Moonis Elahi if he wants,” Salik added.
According to sources, the PMLN has expressed its willingness to accept Ch Parvez Elahi as chief minister of Punjab and even PTI’s demand for fresh elections, but conditionally. “The PMLN is in close contact with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain,” sources said. “As soon it gets something solid from Shujaat, the PMLN will move ahead with its strategy.”
Moreover, they added that Parvez and Shujaat were also back in touch; however, no political discussions had so far been reported to have taken place between them. PMLQ leader Moonis Elahi also disclosed on Saturday that Punjab CM Parvez Elahi and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain are back in touch. Talking to online journalists at the Chief Minister’s House, he said he had not met his uncle Shujaat since the day he went to meet him from the assembly.
“There will be no compromise on the demand for snap polls and whatever Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan says will happen,” sources quoted Moonis as saying. “Elections are the solution for the current political situation,” he added.
As per the sources, Moonis said that his party would stand alongside the PTI in the future. “Some people do not want PTI and PMLQ to go side by side,” he said, adding that his father wanted to stay beside Khan for a long period of time.
According to sources, Moonis said all the decisions were made after consultations. “We have never done anything that would affect Imran Khan’s politics or respect as he is our benefactor,” he added.
On the other hand, quoting the party stance, sources said the PMLN did not want Parvez Elahi’s “double game”. “He (CM Punjab) will have to come out in the open [with what they have on their mind].”
Minister for Interior Rana Sanullah told Geo News that Shujaat was an ally of the coalition parties and it’s not uncommon for two sides to hold meetings. “We just don’t want a double game like before,” the minister said.
PMLN sources also said that in case of dissolution of assemblies, Nawaz Sharif would be requested to return to Pakistan immediately. “Nawaz Sharif will be welcomed at the airport,” party sources said.
Separately, Interior Minister Rana Sanauallah said on Saturday the PMLN government did not believe in political revenge; however, action was being taken against those who targeted institutions.
Addressing a press conference here, he said there was no truth in the PTI claims that the PMLN government was taking political revenge on Senator Azam Swati. He said Swati did not target the government but two institutions i.e. the army and judiciary. The interior minister said the government got nothing to do with the cases against Swati.
“If the PMLN government wants to frame the PTI leaders, then we would charge them with the possessing heroin,” Rana Sanaullah said, adding that cases were being filed against them in accordance with the law.
About the alleged audio leak of former finance minister Shaukat Tarin, Rana said the former finance minister talked about sabotaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. “They are not in power; therefore, they are bent on destroying the country’s economy,” he regretted.
Referring to the defamation case against the UK paper related to corruption allegations against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah said Daily Mail accepted its mistake and apologised for it. He claimed that the newspaper made that mistake due to wrong information provided by Shahzad Akbar.
“Imran Khan levelled false allegations against others, while he himself is involved in corruption,” Rana alleged and added that the PTI and its leadership should apologise to the nation for making false cases against its opponents.
Replying to a question about talks between the government and the opposition, the interior minister said that no talks offer was made to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, however the PDM coalition government was ready for “unconditional talks”. He added that President Dr Arif Alvi was trying to play role between the two sides. “This was also done before by Pervez Khattak, Asad Qaiser, Fawad Chaudhry and Shah Mehmood Qureshi; however, Imran Khan did not listen to them,” he claimed.
About the return of the PMLN supremo, he said the party had requested Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan for leading the next electoral campaign, and he had accepted it.
Sanaullah expressed hope that the institutions would stand by their commitment to stay apolitical. “Army is an organised institution where an individual’s policy does not work,” he said and added that it was the institution’s decision that the army would stay apolitical.
Meanwhile, speaking to a private news channel, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said the Punjab and KP assemblies would be dissolved in the ongoing month. He said though CM Parvez Elahi believes the government should run a little longer, he will adhere to the PTI’s decision of dissolving the assembly.
“Parvez Elahi has said he will do as I say regarding the termination of the Punjab government. He has not demanded becoming the chief minister again,” the former premier said.
Berating the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government, the ex-premier said the multi-party alliance was “trying hard” to get him disqualified. “[PMLN supremo] Nawaz Sharif is trying to close all cases against himself and disqualify me,” he added.
Shedding light on the prevailing situation in the country, Khan reiterated his demand for elections, linking economic growth with political stability.
“Whether they hold elections now or after 10 months or a year, they [PDM] will lose,” he claimed.