LAHORE: A meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Provincial Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has failed to mend a growing rift between the two ruling coalition partners, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
During the meeting on Friday night, the chief minister failed to address the reservations of the PML-Q and decided to take the matter to Prime Minister Imran Khan. On the other hand, the PML-Q has convened a consultative meeting in Islamabad to discuss the latest developments.
Relations between the two parties were already strained over the share of ministries in the cabinet when Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s threw more fuel on the fire with his recent remarks about a “forward bloc in PML-Q”. The resignation of the only PML-Q minister in the provincial cabinet only aggravated the situation.
Quoting sources, Express News reported that Elahi complained that the PTI had not fulfilled the promises it made to them. He told the chief minister that his party was promised two ministries at the Centre and another two in Punjab province.
However, Chief Minister Buzdar said that he was not aware of any such deal and that he would speak with the prime minister. The chief minister assured Elahi that from now on PML-Q’s issues, including those related to transfers and postings of officers, would be resolved promptly.
Elahi insisted that the transfers and postings had never been an issue and stressed that agreement between the coalition partners must be upheld. During the meeting, the issue of the provincial minister’s resignation also remained unresolved.
PML-Q spokesperson Kamil Ali Agha said in a statement that in the last two months, the grievances of the PML-Q and its lawmakers had been growing because they were not being consulted on many issues, and as a result, the gulf between the coalition partners had widened.
“The alliance between the PML-Q and the PTI is in the greater interest of the country. But the PML-Q members face obstacles in the work in their election constituencies,” Agha said. “PML-Q has remained in coalitions in the past but it had never been treated so badly,” he added.
“Time and again, we brought these things to the notice of the top leadership but instead of improving the situations, the things went from bad to worse. So much so, our very active and brilliant minister resigned because of interference in his work.”
Meanwhile, the PML-Q has called a high-level consultative session of the party in Islamabad. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain will preside over the meeting, which will review matters pertaining to the party’s alliance with the PTI and related issues.
Earlier, the information minister had stated that “we have refrained ourselves from forging forward blocs in the PML-Q, PPP and the PML-N as a favour.”
In response, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi warned the PTI that Fawad’s statement could affect their alliance.