As elections approach, leaders of political parties are trying to consolidate their position among the rank and file and attempting to discipline the disgruntled elements within, while angry members are tapping other favourable options for their political future.
The PML-Q is a typical case in point. Several members of the party have defected, while many more are waiting for an opportunity to jump ship.
The PML-Q leadership has launched a fresh attempt to save the party from disintegration: party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain served notices on a ‘select group’ of members for violating party discipline.
Show cause notices have been issued to Kashmala Tariq, Amir Muqam, Khadim Hussain Wattoo, Asim Nazir, Krishan Chand Perwani, Ghulam Hyder Samijo, Humayun Saifullah and Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari.
Interestingly, the PML-Q leadership absolved many other members of the party, some of whom did not attend the session convened for voting in the new prime minister.
The process of disqualification of certain members is also under way. “We will be filing references with the National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza against eight members, requesting her to act for their disqualification,” said PML-Q Information Secretary Senator Kamil Ali Aga.
The MNAs facing disciplinary action are part of the PML-Likeminded, which has struck an electoral alliance deal with the PML-N, and have rebuked Shujaat for serving them the notice.
In response to Shujaat’s notices, Kashmala Tariq, the information secretary of the Likeminded group, sent a strongly worded reply questioning his authority as the legal head of the party.
She also asserted that under the law, only the head of the parliamentary party can serve such notices and Shujaat was neither an MNA nor a legal head. She further questioned why absence from the house and abstention from voting are treated differently in parliamentary practice.
A press release by the PML-Q stated that the challenges of reprimanded members have been referred to a lawyers’ panel, which will prepare a reference to be sent to the National Assembly speaker.
The PML-Likeminded has said that a precedent has been set by the PML-Q in its treatment of the Unification Bloc in the Punjab Assembly. The Unification Bloc of the Pakistan Muslim League in the Punjab Assembly consistently votes in favour of the government led by the PML-N.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.