Deciding on the govt’s fate: Q-League’s split decision

While the central leadership remains diplomatic, breakaway faction says it is ‘open’ to deals.

Irfan Ghauri January 06, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The top decision-making body of the PML-Q has decided not to join the PPP-led coalition government, but its breakaway faction says it is ready to strike a bargain with “anyone” offering a “good deal”.

The Central Working Committee of the PML-Q, convened by its chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, decided on Wednesday that it would not support the embattled government nor would it rock the boat.

Speaking at a news conference after the session, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the party’s Secretary-General Mushahid Hussain Sayed said they would decide future strategies keeping in view the fast-changing political landscape.

About the assassination of Governor Salmaan Taseer, Hussain urged the government to discuss the incident in a joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

Hussain opposed any changes in the controversial blasphemy laws but said that a new law should be enacted to stop their misuse.   On the other hand, the PML-Q (Likeminded Group), the breakaway faction of the party of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, said on Wednesday that it was ready to strike a bargain with “anyone” offering a “good deal”.

The decision was made in a meeting of the Likeminded group’s Central Executive Committee, headed by Senator Saleem Saifullah Khan, which discussed the country’s overall political situation.

The statement issued by the group after the meeting was stereotypical, criticising the PPP-led coalition and main opposition party, the PML-N, but the group’s information secretary Kashmala Tariq told The Express Tribune that her party was open to dialogue with all parties including the PPP and the PML-N “to steer the country out of the current political crisis”.

“We are open to all … be it PPP, PML-N or PML-Q. We are ready to sit with anyone who can give a better national agenda,” Kashmla Tariq said when asked to give details of her party’s future plans. She said the country was passing through a critical situation and her party was ready to play its role to avert a crisis.

In reality, six sitting MNAs and a couple of senators were among those who attended the meeting, but the group claims that it enjoys the support of at least 10 lawmakers in the National Assembly and six in the Senate and believes that if there is any possibility of the faction joining the government, “more undecided lawmakers in the main PML-Q would join their fold”.

Despite their significant numerical strength, if the group supports the government without the consent of its parent party, their members may have to face the defection clause. However, some leaders of the group claim that among the 51 National Assembly members elected on a PML-Q ticket, only 15 were staunch supporters of the Chaudhrys. The PML-Q’s Like-Minded group says it was also willing to collaborate with the PML-N if it goes for an in-house change via a no-trust motion.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2011.


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