Gulf between Jamali, PML-QA widens
By Rana Qaisar
ISLAMABAD: The gulf has further widened between Prime Minister Mir Zafrullah Khan Jamali and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) after the premier dismissed his political secretary, Syed Yahya Munawar, who, with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s support, was trying to bridge the gap between the party and the government.
The prime minister has gradually distanced himself from the PML-QA. Political observers believe he leans more heavily towards the National Alliance (NA), PPP-Patriots and other allies now. Yet, his decision to replace Mr Munawar with Chaudhry Khurshid Zaman has not gone down well with most members of the ruling party.
Mr Zaman, a former MNA from Gujar Khan, is a personal friend of Mr Jamali’s son, Mir Farid Jamali. Besides, Mr Zaman is still a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), a factor that has caused concern in the PML-QA. PML-QA sources told Daily Times that Mr Munawar’s appointment was proposed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to make government functionaries more accessible to party workers. Mr Munawar is also the joint secretary of the party.
Party insiders believe a group of “conspirators” was at work to drive a rift between Mr Jamali and Mr Hussain by appointing Chaudhry Khurshid Zaman on a sensitive party post. “They have already succeeded with Yahya Munawar’s dismissal,” they said.
Resentment is also growing within the PML-QA, as “Mr Jamali is helpless” and cannot accommodate the party’s MNAs and senators in his cabinet. “It’s true that he was elected with the support of the allied parties, but the fact remains that the PML-QA had given him the platform for premiership,” said a PML-QA leader, requesting anonymity.
A group of PML-QA leaders has also conveyed its concerns to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, saying that Mr Jamali was constantly ignoring them and appeared more inclined towards his friends in the PML-N, a rival group run by its exiled leadership.
“We will protest, if the party is ignored again and the coalition partners are given ministerial slots in the cabinet,” the PML-QA sources said. The prime minister, who is facing a difficult situation, has delayed the expansion of his cabinet and assignment of the portfolios of federal ministers.
Meanwhile, the PPP-Patriots and the National Alliance are pressing the prime minister to create more slots in his cabinet, though they have already grabbed important ministries like defence, interior, petroleum, food and agriculture, and information technology.
Sources claim Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was planning to take up these issues with Mr Jamali this week in order to create an environment of harmony between the government and the party. While the two sides have denied the reports about differences between them, insiders insist that everything is not going well.