Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cracks start appearing in PPP-Q alliance

Courtesy: Daily "The News", 5 May 2011
Cracks start appearing in PPP-Q alliance
Tariq ButtISLAMABAD: The unique marriage of convenience between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) seems to be on the rocks just after three days as Amir Muqam, who was among the newly sworn in PML-Q ministers, is about to quit the cabinet.
Muqam, who heads the PML-Q Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has convened a meeting of the party’s general council of his province and Fata in Islamabad on Sunday to share with it his utter frustration with the purpose of securing its nod to leave the cabinet.

“The Chaudhrys of Gujrat have inducted their three family members in the cabinet but closed their eyes to according representation to others, who have kept the party alive in hard times,” Muqam told The News.“It seems they are hell-bent on making the PML-Q a Punjab party.”
He said that since the KP general council authorised him to take a decision on becoming part of the coalition, he would brief it that the Chaudhrys have not consulted with him in the cabinet making; that what was committed has not been honoured; and that he has been totally bypassed etc. “Then I will go by its opinion.”
Muqam said that despite all the 400 members of the council barring four participants in a meeting in Peshawar 10 days ago that he chaired opposed cooperation with the PPP, he still went with the Chaudhrys’ decision. “I told them the opinion of my party, but they insisted that forging alliance is their compulsion and everything would be positive, fruitful and beneficial for the PML-Q. I held the view that the party’s position would seriously suffer.”
He said only three PML-Q nominees including he himself, Sardar Shahjehan Yousuf (minister of state) and Syed Qasim Shah (special assistant) have been given positions from KP while those hailing from Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and Abbottabad, who stood with the PML-Q in difficult times just because of his efforts, were ignored.
Muqam said even Shahabuddin Khan, who was elected as MNA from Fata area of Bajaur on the Awami National Party (ANP) ticket, and joined the PML-Q simply due to his efforts, was not considered by the party for any top government position.
Similarly, Muqam said, Alamzeb Khan, a former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader, who was elected as MNA or MPA for six times and associated with the PML-Q just because of his endeavours, Malik Aurangzeb from Kohistan, Amanullah Jadoon and Mushtaq Ghani from Abbottabad, who backed the party for the same reasons, were not considered from the KP quota.
Besides, Muqam said, a number of PML-Q candidates, defeated in the 2008 general elections with a very narrow margin, were to be looked after by the party, preparing for the next parliamentary polls. For example, he said, his candidate, who contested against the incumbent KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar, was routed by just 80 votes.
He complained that not only he but all others in the PML-Q were given the understanding that a written agreement would be signed by President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, which would be made public, but nothing like that happened. “Where is that agreement?” he asked and said that he was not consulted in picking up PML-Q nominees for the cabinet at all.
“I told the Chaudhrys that despite the opposition of the KP general council he is ready to support their decision as I have been authorised by it but made it clear that those who backed the party in hard times would have to be accommodated,” Muqam said.
Personally, Muqam said, his sacrifices in the PML-Q are matchless. “Once I was given a threatening message from Taliban chief Baitullah Mahsud to leave the PML-Q and he would not do anything against him, but I ignored the warning. Besides, I and my family members were subjected to suicide attacks,” he said.
Muqam did not say but he seems to be personally dissatisfied with the ministry (production) he has been allotted.
His departure will mark the third setback to the newfound love between Zardari and Chaudhrys. On the day of swearing in, Riaz Pirzada made it known that he has declined to take oath as minister of state, considering it inconsequential. Damage control efforts were quickly launched and he was appeased with his appointment as full-fledged minister. The second jolt came when Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who was to become deputy prime minister, was not assigned this title, but was made senior minister. However, the prime minister is reluctant to issue a notification officially declaring him as senior minister. Now, the question is whether there will be two senior ministers even if the PML-Q leader is notified so because Makhdoom Amin Faheem already holds this berth.
Even the PML-Q insiders concede that every leader of their party is desperate to become minister whether or not he has any public worth and standing. “Their staying away from the cabinet for three long years starting in 2008 was just like fish out of water,” one of them remarked.


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