Opposition blasé about Shujaat’s appointment
* Ministers congratulate new PM
By Qamar Jabbar
LAHORE: Opposition leaders have proclaimed that no positive change will occur in the political set up of the nation even with the election of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the prime minister.
The senior vice president of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and chief of the Pakistan Democratic Party (PDP), Nawabzada Mansoor Ali Khan, dismissed the election of Chaudhry Shujaat as the leader of House and the resignation of Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as a drama directed by the President.
He challenged the decision to nominate Shaukat Aziz as the prime minister-in-waiting on the basis of his lack of identification with the general population.
He questioned the effectiveness of Mr Shujaat who will only be given 45 days in office and wondered why Mr Jamali had not been allowed to stay on during the interim period.
Mansoor Ali Khan said that the nomination of Mr Shujaat and Mr Aziz by the ruling party conflicted with the 1973 Constitution, which allowed the announcement of the dates of the nomination papers for the PM slot only.
He also accused the MMA of double standards for not being present in the election process. He said that this was done to avoid endangering their NWFP government and was a betrayal to voters.
PPPP President Qasim Zia refused to believe that Mr Shujaat’s appointment was of any consequence since the president held the reins of all outgoing and incoming premiers in Islamabad.
Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Syed Munawar Hassaan declared that Chaudhry Shujaat was the constitutional prime minister of the country, however, replacing him with Shaukat Aziz would be fundamentally unconstitutional.
Explaining the absence of the MMA from the voting process, he said the religious alliance demanded the nomination of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of the PML-N instead of Makdoom Amin Fahim of the PPPP. The party also wanted the PPPP leadership to withdraw the amendments in the Hudood Ordinance and blasphemy laws but the demand was refused. He stated that the MMA would support Mr Shujaat only if his government followed the alliance’s agenda.
The provincial ministers congratulated Mr Shujaat over his appointment. They said that the election of Mr Shujaat Hussain as prime minister would prove to be a precursor to the strengthening of democratic institutions in the country.
They said Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s victory in the National Assembly with a majority vote was proof that the Pakistan Muslim League and its allied parties enjoyed the complete support of the public and a new era of progress and prosperity would be ushered in.