Diminishing strength: Defections mar PML-Q’s chances of joining K-P govt

Published: April 25, 2012

PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q’s) ambition to join the provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) hit a snag after several high-profile defections to their competitor, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The party’s existence in the region is now at stake.

On March 31, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain hinted at his party’s plan to join the coalition government of K-P and the party spokesperson Senator Kamil Ali Agha, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the formal announcement would be made in the first week of April. Despite lapse of three weeks, negotiations in this regard seem to have halted.

When contacted, Agha told The Express Tribune that “…negotiations with the K-P government are under way.” He added that he was in Lahore and was not ‘aware of the current status of negotiations.’

The Awami National Party (ANP), which heads the coalition government in the province, however, claimed it was not aware of any such development. Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, while talking to The Express Tribune, said: “I am not aware of any such proposal…we will look into it once we receive it.”

After PML-Q’s K-P chapter president and former federal minister engineer Amir Muqam bid farewell to the party, Chaudhry Shujaat convened a meeting, in which he claimed that despite being a coalition partner at the centre, they could not join the K-P government due to ‘stubbornness’ of Muqam.

PML-Q has now splintered into different factions with the party losing members either to PML-N or to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Marvi Memon, Senator Tariq Azim and Muqam have already joined the PML-N whereas former information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani is likely to join the party in a few days.

Former federal ministers Khursheed Mehmood Qureshi and Sikandar Bosan and several others have joined the PTI.

A faction of the PML-Q known as ‘Likeminded’, led by Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, is currently negotiating with PML-N for unification and another breakaway faction, known as Unification Bloc led by Atta Manika has 47 members, which has weakened the PML-Q in Punjab.

MPAs asked to resign

On Tuesday, PML-Q asked two of its Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs), who recently joined the PML-N, to relinquish their provincial assembly seats.

Addressing a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, PML-Q Vice President and coordinator for Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) organising committee, Ajmal Wazir asked Sanaullah Miankhel from Dera Ismail Khan and Rashad Khan from Shangla to resign from their seats.

“They contested the elections on PML-Q’s behalf and now, since they have joined the PML-N, they are morally and legally bound to resign from their assembly seats,” Wazir said.

About three MPAs of PML-Q joined the PML-N with Amir Muqam earlier this month. He said that the defectors should resign otherwise the party will approach the court for their disqualification. He claimed that party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has directed him to file a case in court, if both the lawmakers do not resign from their seats within a week.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.

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