The PPP has been accused a number of times of siding with Pervez Musharraf and giving him safe passage. PPP is also accused of being soft towards PML-Q as it feels that PML-Q can give a tough fight to PML-N. Off course, all that seems to be forgotten now. A team of PML-Q senators comprising of Tariq Azeem and SM Zafar met with PML-N leadership headed by Sher-e-Punjab, Rehbar-e-Inqalab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif. He was ably assisted by none other than highly exalted, no less revolutionary Chaudhry Nisar; financial whiz kid of Pakistan Ishaq Dar and Khwaja Asif. The meeting has talked about a future alliance between PML-N and PML-Q! Talk about marriage of convenience and shunning of “principles”.
Saudi interference in uniting Muslim Leagues?
We also note with concern that there are credible reports about the Saudi role in trying to unite Muslim League factions. Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer is reported to have met Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Shahbaz Sharif a few days ago forcing them to form a coalition of right-wing political and religio-political parties in Pakistan, starting with a unity of Muslim Leagues. Not unlike past Saudi interference in Pakistan (e.g., in the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the formation of the IJI against Benazir Bhutto), this Saudi interference into Pakistan’s domestic political affairs is not expected to do any good to Pakistan and Pakistani nation. Saudis are best advised to stay away from supporting a unity of pro-Taliban and anti-democracy parties in Pakistan. On a related note, the hypocritical role of the so called torch-bearers of national sovereignty and dignity (i.e., PML-N and Nawaz Sharif) is equally despicable in accepting this foreign interference.
Shahbaz Sharif meeting with Tariq Azeem and SM Zafar
‘Future alliance discussed’ PML-Q leaders call on Shahbaz
Dawn, October 18, 2010
LAHORE, Oct 17: Leaders of the two major Muslim League factions, N and Q, met here on Sunday to discuss possibilities of their future alliance, if not unification, to play a better role in the prevailing political scenario.
A PML-Q leader claims the ice in its relations with the PML-N is melting as the latter gave a positive response when Tariq Azeem and Senator S.M. Zafar met Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here.
Opposition leader in National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan, Senator Ishaq Dar and Khwaja Asif were also present in the meeting at Sharifs’ Raiwind residence.
The hosts gave us a good response as no conditions were set when both sides agreed to further the dialogue process, Mr Azeem told Dawn after the meeting.
“There was no discussion on who can come into the unified party and who not as there was a realisation on both sides that the prevailing political situation can be improved by joining hands.” To a question, Azeem said their visit had been scheduled with the permission of PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain as they would brief the Chaudhry about the outcome of the meeting on Monday morning.
A press release issued by the PML-Q media centre at night however said Azeem and Zafar had met Shahbaz in their private capacity and not as representatives of the party.
Mr Azeem had earlier called on Nawaz Sharif a couple of months ago when efforts for merger or alliance were not so ‘serious’.
A PML-N official privy to the development said the visitors carried a message from PML-F leader Pir Saheb of Pagaro seeking response of Nawaz Sharif if the Sindhi leader wished to visit the NLeague chief during his Lahore visit likely in the last week of the current month.
They were told that the situation could be clarified after consulting Nawaz presently in London, he said.
PML-Q secretary-general Mushahid Husain Sayed had, a couple of weeks ago, claimed at a diplomatic function in Islamabad that talks for N and Q alliance had gone too far. But PML-N spokesperson Ahsan Iqbal had rejected the claim saying the Q, F and Awami League were in fact ‘alumni club’ of Musharraf having no worthwhile future agenda or programme.
Mr Iqbal had asserted that the leadership would take party workers on board in important decision making while he was not sure that the activists who had suffered for eight years during the Musharraf rule would approve of any such merger plans.
Another central leader wary of his status in the party in case the Q and other groups joined hands with the N, said he believed that those accompanying the party chief could change his (Nawaz) mind who had so far been unwilling to accept the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and others into the party folds.
He believed that the party re-organisation was also being delayed to keep key offices vacant for accommodating the political giants joining the party.
Mr Iqbal said it would be compulsory even for a district level president and secretary-general that he had served the party for the last eight years.
He, however, said the rule might not apply to the offices of vice-presidents or joint secretaries.
Tahir Sarwar Mir’s column on the unity of Muslim Leagues (Express, 18 October 2010)