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Friday, April 22, 2011

Zardari’s PPP & Choudhris’ PML-Q to Wed Soon, II: New Wave of Political Maneuvers in the Country; Ministerial Candidates are Finalized; Only Legharis Pose Obstacles?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: The news of political realignment and the new alliance between the PPP and PML-Q before the forthcoming federal budget is seen as a new set of political maneuvers in the country to keep the present government afloat until the next elections.

Every talk show and news bulletin has given extensive coverage to the new deal being worked out between the two arch rivals. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, chief of PML-Q has himself confirmed that the deal between the two is underway. ‘We are discussing ways and means of a political agreement with the government; however, who will be the minister and which ministries will be given to us is yet to come in the discussion’, he added.

Commenting on the deal underway, Ahsan Iqbal, the spokesman of PML-N observed that ‘any deal is based on two aspects, Asool (Principles) or Hasool (gains). The PML-Q has compulsions because of the corruption case against Moonis Elahi. The PPP may provide them some relief, and thus they are going to join the government’.

Responding to the derogatory comment of the rival Muslim League, Ch Shujaat observed that the case is with the Supreme Court, Zafar Qureshi, former director FIA has submitted his report and the case challan to the apex court and nobody even the PM or the President can intervene now and it is the Supreme Court which has to decide the case on merit now.

Faisal Saleh Hayat, a PMLQ stalwart while responding to a query in this regard maintained that the Q league has been offered power sharing rather than ministries. No final decision on our part has been made as yet, he claimed. Faisal has also confided to few journalists in the federal capital that he was also offered a lucrative ministerial portfolio; however he is undecided as yet.

Contrary to his claims, the party insiders on the condition of anonymity reveal that Besides Ch Pervez Elahi, Ch Wajahat, Riaz Hussain Qureshi and Waseem Sajaad, could be among the lot who are to be sworn in. The oath taking is being planned on April 28th, subject to a final decision, PML-Q sources further confided. Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General of the party has also to be adjusted, and keeping his background, command on international relations and expertise, he is being tipped as new Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations, sources claimed.

On the other hand, a handful of party parliamentarians are claimed to be opposing the deal, as they will not get anything out of it. Those who are opposing the deal include Nausheen Saeed, and Leghari brothers i.e., Jamal Leghari and Owais Leghari, political and legal heirs of former president Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari.

To appease the Leghari family, and to ensure future scenario, Maqsood Ahmed Khan, a senior Leghari sardar and uncle of both Jamal and Owais is being tipped as new Governor Punjab.

Sardar Maqsood maintained good relations with BB Shaheed even after his brother dissolved her government. He is now leading the Leghari tribe in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Owais has recently won a national assembly seat vacated due to death of his father, Farooq Leghari, a former PPP leader who shortly after being elected as President by party sided with the establishment and dissolved the second BB government under the corruption charges. Raza Hayat Hiraj, a former Patriot of PPP in 2002 assembly is also said to be reluctant in embracing the deal, however, they all are said to have been ‘managed’, except Legharis of Dera Ghazi Khan, sources confided.

On the other hand, President Zardari is also said to be having tough time by his party mates and PPP hawks, having strong sentiments carrying since the days of Zia ul Haq. Ch. Zahoor Elahi, Father of Shujaat was said to be a collaborator in hanging of ZA Bhutto in 1979, and was murdered by a PPP supporter and Al Zulfikar activist Razaq Jharna.

President Zardari himself called Q league as Qatil League when Mohtarma Benazir was martyred on December 27, 2007. Ever since the tragic incident, much water has passed under the Indus bridges, and now the bitter taste between the two new look parties is turned in to sweet taste.

‘I called the party in government Qatil league, and the party was being led by Musharraf. I still consider them qatil league’, said president Zardari while clarifying the situation at recent party CEC meeting at Naudero House on April 04 on the eve of 32nd death anniversary of ZAB. ‘Choudhris are now no more with the establishment, beside they have parted ways with Musharraf’, he opined.
Choudhris of Gujrat have worked with all the military dictators including Ayub Khan, Zia & Musharraf
 To make the new deal acceptable to party leaders, the Choudhris narrated an interesting story to party fellows regarding murder of Ch Zahoor Elahi. In words of Ch. Shujaat, he along with Pervaiz Elahi had a meting with Razaq Jharna the murderer of elder Chaudhry. ‘During the meeting in camp jail Lahore, we asked Jharna whether he is a real murderer or is implicated so as an innocent should not be hanged? Jharna while accepting his crime clearly indicated that he committed the act. He also indicated that the elder Chaudhry was murdered on the verbal orders of Mir Murtaza Bhutto’. Murtaza Bhutto was reportedly leading the terrorist outfit Al-Zulfikar, a claim of establishment, which was time and again refuted by Bhutto family.

Both Zardari and Choudhris clearly stated that PPP, BB or any other party leader had nothing to do with the murder, and Murtaza is no more alive now, they maintained. The clarification has worked, and now PPP leaders seem to have accepted the deal, said a party insider. However, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed, a former Q league leader and chief of Awami Muslim League still believes that “Hunooz Dili Door Ast”. ‘PML-Q may support the government, but accepting ministries will be a difficult political step for the party’, he observed.

On the other hand, sources in the power corridors have confided that the deal between the two parties will not be confined to the center. In second phase, a no confidence motion is being considered against PML-N government in Punjab, where both can secure a simple majority in provincial assembly Punjab.

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