LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) faces the prospect of losing the support of a long-standing and influential south Punjab family due to internal strife.
Following tendering his resignation from all political offices due to differences with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, senior PML-N leader Senator Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa on Friday refused to meet the party’s senior leadership.
Instead, he said that it was time to hold direct talks with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune. The growing rift between Zulfiqar Khosa and Shahbaz was confirmed by his son, former Punjab chief minister Dost Muhammad Khosa, who on Friday also resigned from PML-N’s basic party membership. Addressing a press conference, Dost Muhammad confirmed the differences with Shahbaz and urged that only Nawaz could mediate. However, he admitted that he himself was unapproachable for any reconciliation talks.
In a two page letter written by Zulfiqar to Shahbaz on August 1, he stated that due to irreconcilable differences with the latter, he was tendering his resignation from the slot of senior advisor to the chief minister, from his Senate seat and even from the party’s membership.
But the party leadership had not yet contacted him directly, except making an announcement that it had constituted a committee comprising the party’s senior leadership that would visit his residence to woo him back. Zulfiqar, however was in no mood to entertain them and demanded Nawaz to meet him instead.
The apparent cold shoulder from Nawaz irked Dost Muhammad. According to reliable sources, 22 MPAs, including 10 of the Unification bloc, and the rest of whom mostly belong to South Punjab, urged Dost Muhammad to stand his ground and reiterated their support for the family. The sources claimed that some lawmakers had offered their resignation in support, but were told not to do so by the elder Khosa, urging them to wait for the outcome of his meeting with Nawaz.
Content of the letter
The sources said that the crux of the letter was Zulfiqar describing his 30 years of service for the PML-N and pointed out personalities within it who were involved in maligning his family.
The elder Khosa and his three sons, MNA Sardar Saifuddin Khosa and MPAs Sardar Dost Muhammad and Sardar Hassamuddin Khan Khosa, were under the media spotlight for the past couple of years regarding many scandals – which convinced Zulfiqar that Shahbaz and his group, including Senator Pervez Rashid and MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique, were organising a campaign against them. The sources mentioned that, being a close associate of Nawaz, Zulfiqar Khan Khosa often opposed their decision of holding a public rally in Bhatti Gate, two days before that of rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) October 30, 2011, rally in Lahore.
Another aspect of Khosa’s resignation
Sources close to Shahbaz Sharif said that the chief minister had received reports from the party’s special branch about misuse of authority, which Khosa’s sons exercised in their constituencies.
They said that Hassamuddin had recently grabbed a piece of land which had a government school built on it in Dera Ghazi Khan. Dost Muhammad, on the other hand, was already implicated in a murder case of his wife Sapna, not giving back the furniture of his official residence and accused of corruption. Sources added that MNA Saifuddin Khosa was going to join the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) due to his close relationship with PPP MNA Ayatullah Durrani. Saifuddin’s daughter is married to Durrani’s son. They said the move would help PPP win seats in South Punjab, where the Khosa family has its biggest support base.
Accommodating Khosa’s demands
According to the elder Khosa’s aides, he would seek action against those who were maligning his family and tarnishing their name. They also revealed that if Nawaz turned down his conditions, then he would announce his retirement from politics, and would urge his supporters in the PML-N to join PPP along with his son.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly mentioned that Saifuddin’s son is married to Durrani’s daughter. The error has been rectified.
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