PM showers praises on Zardari, Shujaat for 'protecting democracy, constitutional values'

'PML-N's victory is a victory of public mandate' says Maryam Nawaz


RAMEEZ KHAN July 22, 2022
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

LAHORE:

Surviving his closest brush with a defeat in the country’s political capital, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday heaved a sigh of relief, thanking PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for their role in "the victory of democracy and constitutional values".

The PML-N-led ruling coalition took a victory lap after it surprisingly managed to retain the control of Punjab’s throne in the nail-biting run-off elections for the chief minister which took a dramatic shift after a letter from Shujaat turned the tide.

“His [Chaudhry Shujaat's] role today is the victory of democracy and constitutional values and I pay tribute to him for his contributions,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that former president Asif Ali Zardari has also played a “historic role” in his political maturity as he pulled the country out of the crisis.

The premier also thanked all coalition parties and their respected leaders for the political insight, unity, and support due to which the “democracy won".

Shujaat’s letter – which became the basis on which votes for Elahi were disregarded – had instructed party leaders to not vote for PTI's candidate and had come a day after Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with him. However, at the time, Hussain had ruled out the existence of any such letter.

The controversial decision of the deputy speaker of disregarding all 10 PML-Q votes for not obeying the party president's order was heavily criticised by the political pundits and legal experts who termed the decision a "mockery of law and public mandate".

Read: Elahi wins election, but Hamza gets Punjab CM slot

The decision of the deputy speaker was however welcomed by PML-N leaders.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz accused PTI chief Imran Khan of creating rifts between the Chaudhry family. Taking to her Twitter, she said that Imran stole the speakership and the seat of Pervez Elahi because of his willingness to come into power.

“Shujaat took a principled decision despite the pressure and increased his respect and dignity,” she added.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also took to his Twitter account and praised his father, saying "Ek Zardari sab pe bhaari”.

Party leaders talking to The Express Tribune had earlier in the day predicted that they have a few cards up their sleeve which PTI was not aware of.  They had asserted that PML-N was ready to combat fire with fire, and conceded that all bets were off.

Even Maryam Nawaz earlier in the day said PML-N has not forgotten the treatment meted out to them, adding that now the rules of the game will be the same for everyone, else PML-N knows how to play it better.

Also Read Elahi moves SC against police deployment in Punjab Assembly

Soon after the decision was announced, a gleeful Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan also showered his praises on the two leaders for their role in “strengthening democracy”.

The PML-N leader claimed that the PML-N was able to succeed in retaining the coveted slot thanks to the "wise decision" of the PML-Q president and the efforts of allied parties, especially Zardari.

Addressing a news conference with Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb and PML-N Leader Talal Chaudhry, he said that the PML-Q chief deserved the full credit.

He claimed PML-N had defeated elements that were trying to create “unrest” in the country. "Now all such attempts have been foiled.”

The minister said the PML-N had accepted gracefully its defeat in the by-poll election held on July 17 and also identified the weaknesses in candidates' selection.

Regarding Deputy Speake Dost Mazari’s verdict, the interior minister said that the decision was taken according to the earlier judgement of the Supreme Court according to which 25 members of the assembly were unseated.

“The decisions taken by the apex court and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are present people complaining can refer to those,” he said, telling them [PTI] to do whatever they want “we will stop them.”

“If attempts are made to disrupt law and order, this will be dealt with severely,” he warned.

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