Alliance with the PPP: With ministries on offer, PML-Q to woo party dissidents

Work towards forming a joint strategy with MQM, JUI-F to avert betrayal.

Irfan Ghauri April 28, 2011


A crucial meeting of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) parliamentarians will be held at Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s residence where the party leadership will brief their members on the prospects of an alliance, and their ongoing negotiations, with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

While Shujaat officially denies working out a deal with the PPP for joining the government, the capital is rife with speculations of new alignments on the political chessboard.

The PPP has been fishing for support to ensure a smooth passage of the next financial year’s budget that is likely to be presented on May 28, with major taxation proposals on the table.

Closely guarded

Both Shujaat and Pervez Elahi have been holding meetings with party members individually and in small groups to discuss prospects of an alliance with the PPP, but this would be the first general meeting of the party’s elected representatives after the recent developments.

Meanwhile, the second-tier leadership of the PML-Q appears clueless about the exact contours of the prospective alliance deal as both Shujaat and Elahi have been keeping their cards close to their chests, said several important PML-Q leaders while speaking to The Express Tribune.

The Chaudhrys’ meetings with the PPP leadership have included a select few, mostly their own family members.

Internal resistance

The PML-Q top leadership is facing stiff resistance, in its move to join the government, from a strong group within the party headed by Faisal Saleh Hayat.

Hayat has the support of a group of MNAs and Senators, including the patriots who deserted the PPP after the 2002 elections on behest of former President General Pervez Musharraf and later merged with the PML-Q.

The group has been proposing to the party leadership that the best option would be to not join the government formally, but support it on an issue to issue basis.

The Chaudhrys are trying to lure the group by offering them to pick ministries of their choice – a condition that may cause friction with the PPP since it has reservations over inclusion of some of these persons in its federal cabinet.

Besides, the Chaudhrys are prospectively looking for a broader future alignment with the PPP that goes beyond the budget session and includes the next Senate elections, the general elections and Punjab provincial politics.

At present, the PML-Q, with around 20 members in the Senate, is the second biggest party in the upper house of Parliament, but will be left with a few members after March 2012 when new Senate elections will take place and half of the present Senators would retire.

In case of an alliance with the PPP, the PML-Q leadership believes the ruling party would give them a share from their quota of seats.

Besides ministries, the PML-Q wants a share in parliamentary secretaries and chairmanship of more standing committees to win over support of maximum members of their fractured party that is already divided into two major groups – the Chaudhry-led PML-Q and the Saleem Saifullah-led PML-Q-Like Minded.

The combined strength of both the groups of PML-Q in the National Assembly is 52, sufficient to ensure that PPP government maintains its majority in case of an alliance.

Trust deficit

The Chaudhrys, however, fear that the PPP will betray and discard them after using them for its own agenda.

To avoid such a fate, the PML-Q leadership is trying to take PPP’s former allies – the MQM and the JUI-F – on board.

It wants the former allies to either join the alliance or at least give concrete guarantees that in case the PPP betrays any of them, they will back out from the alliance en-bloc, causing the PPP government to collapse immediately.

An MQM delegation met Chaudhry Shujaat on Wednesday while Maulana Fazlur Rehman has mandated Senator Talha to negotiate on his behalf. Talha held an important meeting with Shujaat at the latter’s residence on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Elahi, who has been playing the central role in negotiations with the PPP, is expected to be in Islamabad Wednesday evening.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2011.


Aamir | 10 years ago | Reply Pakistani politicians fear of their future so they are uniting to fool Pakistanis again. Mr. Nawaz Shareef fooled the nation and left for his treatment when all doctors were on strike while our beloved President was once on joy trip when nation was flooding. This is the true face of our leaders. They have already sold Pakistan to US for a few dollars and will pack their bags and leave soon. Lets pray for us as they will leave us in miserable condition. We are simply watching a grand Puppet Show.
Mulla Toofhan | 10 years ago | Reply The country is in such a mess and ever getting closer to becoming a failed state yet these shameless politician are busy trying to save their power base by any means, I feel sorry for common pakistani who work hard to make ends meet, pay taxes yet get nothing in return from these selfish rulers. The exploitation has to come to an end. These people should take a lesson from the Arab reawakening. People who do not learn from their mistakes are bound to repeat it.
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