By Aijaz Ahmed
|PML-Q delegation led by Choudhry Shujaat calls on Zardari (file photo from internet)|
The Pakistan Peoples Party led government seems to be out of trouble for now in the parliament as the Q faction of Pakistan Muslim League led by arch rivals of Bhutto family, the Choudhries of Gujrat are ready to join the government with some powers, perks and privileges coming the way of former CM Punjab Ch Pervez Elahi, sources in the federal capital reveal.
The sources in the power corridors are quite confident that the deal is finalized, and will be acted upon shortly. The Q league has been offered six to eight ministries with Pervez Elahi as deputy prime minister, sourced confided adding that the later will be sworn in as senior minister.
It is further learnt that the Q league members will take oath of their ministries during the first phase of extension to be done shortly. All details are finalized and deliberations among the Q league ranks have been completed as well.
The PPP-Q League deal is marriage of convenience as government under pressure is forced to take bitter pill half heartedly, said a PPP insider, adding that the core committee, PPP Punjab leadership, party ranks from different divisions of Punjab and the parliamentary party at center have been taken into confidence.
‘The in and out game by MQM and pressure it exerted on the government over different issues forced us to think about offering Q league for joining the government’, he said. ‘It was not a happy decision, but MQM left no option for us except embracing arch rivals like the Choudhries of the Q league which once President termed as qatil league, he maintained.
‘The way Zulfiqar Mirza had to leave his ministry and the way MQM left federal cabinet on very minor issues was beyond political morality, and inclusion of Q league in the federal cabinet will squeeze MQM demands’, party insider added.
‘The next budget is due within next couple of months and we don’t know what could be the MQM reaction when the time will come to pass the budget and finance bill’, he said and adding that ‘the threats for present democratic dispensation and rumors about setting up of technocrat’s government under Imran Khan was an additional factor’.
The same factor was a cause of concern for PML-Q that made it thinks for joining the government, party sources revealed.
The discussions within the party ranks are completed said a PML-Q leader. He dispelled the impression that Mushahid Hussain and Amir Muqam are opposing the deal. In fact Faisal Saleh Hayat had some concerns and those were confined to his constituency and family.
Catering to the concerns of Faisal Saleh Hayat, President Zardari himself assured him to remove them. In fact he was much concerned about Begum Abida Hussain, his close relative, but staunch political opponent in his hometown Jhang. Abida Hussain will be adjusted in Senate or will be nominated as ambassador to one of the major global capitals, sources said.
The Party was ready to join the government two months ago but the issue of Moonis Elahi becomes hurdle to it, party insider said adding that the only consideration in the party discussion last week was the issue of Moonis. Majority of the leaders were in favor to join the government, but they were of the view that the step will not go well with the workers and the family as long as Moonis is in the jail.
The government had very limited options in this regard as the issue is with the Supreme Court. ‘Peoples Party has made the way for us, it has done what it can in this regard, Zafar Qureshi, the man implicated Moonis in National Insurance Company Scam has been removed and he has nothing to do with case any more’, he said added that ‘we have no reason to remain out of the cabinet any more, and the deal could be implemented any time from now onwards’.
Contrarily, the move has forced MQM to rethink its decision to not rejoin the cabinet, sources said adding that the two ministers may be sworn in again from the party during the next phase of cabinet extension.