PML unification plan likely to nose-dive
By Rana Qaisar
ISLAMABAD: The unification plan of the five Pakistan Muslim League (PML) factions is likely to fall apart as the Pir Pagaro-led Functional group is backing out of its commitment to dissolve before the May 12 meeting.
“There is no question of losing our entity before going to the May 12 meeting,” PML-Functional Vice President Sultan Mehmood Khan told Daily Times. “First we will see how things move and then make a decision,” Mr Khan said.
It was agreed in the last meeting of the leaders of these factions at the Prime Minister’s House that their respective parties would separately hold meetings of their general councils to endorse the unification on May 12.
Similarly, the candidature of Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali as a nominee of the PML-Functional for the slot of the united PML secretary general has also irked the PML-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) leaders, who have taken this move of Mr Jamali as a “conspiracy” to create dissension in the ranks of the ruling party.
However, sources told Daily Times that PML-QA President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was not ready to give this party position to the prime minister.
“The party office and prime ministership cannot go together as it would not be possible for Mr Jamali to effectively handle the party matters as secretary general,” PML-QA sources said, adding that the secretary generalship of the party was a full-time job.
Mr Jamali has also expressed his willingness to fill the slot of the PML secretary general, a position he quit after becoming prime minister. In view of the already existing differences between Mr Jamali and Mr Hussain on party matters, Mr Jamali’s move to win the support of other PML factions for the slot of secretary general has also irked his party chief.
Though all five PML factions had agreed on Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as president of the united PML, they wanted an equal share in its general council, which was not acceptable to PML-QA.
“Mr Hussain is not ready to give any of these factions a larger share beyond its size in the general council,” the sources said.
The PML-Functional, which has only five members of the National Assembly and two senators, is also vying for the slots of the senior vice president and chief organiser of the united PML.
“We are rightfully demanding these two slots since we have not been given any position in the government,” Mr Khan said.
Sources said it was not likely that the unification meeting on May 12 will succeed as the differences between all factions remain unresolved. However, PML-QA President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said a meeting was already scheduled for Sunday (today) to discuss the unification plan.