Shujaat set to ‘punish’ PML-Q dissidents | Pakistan Today

Shujaat set to ‘punish’ PML-Q dissidents

In a bid to pacify the party’s upset parliamentarians, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has decided hand the party’s “loyal” members of parliament (MPs) the positions currently held by party dissidents, such as chairmanships of National Assembly (NA) and Senate committees.
A source told Pakistan Today that Shujaat wanted to kill two birds with one stone – to punish the rebel MPs and accommodate those who were either already with him or were likely to return to the party’s folds because of pressure exerted by this very decision. “After becoming a part of the ruling coalition, Chaudhry Shujaat feels himself strong enough to make life difficult for the PML-Q rebels.
Under the strategy, either the dissidents would have to return to the party or they would have to sacrifice the slots awarded to them on the party’s request,” said the source, adding that even if the dissidents were ready to compromise their slots, references may be filed against them after the upcoming budget session.
The source added that Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, president of the PML-Likeminded group, would be the first casualty of the decision as he was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The source said Shujaat did not want to take such stern action against Saifullah, who had been very close to him previously, but he had made the “difficult decision” for two reasons: rising discord within the party on not being included in the federal cabinet, and to exert pressure on the dissident PML-Q members so as they would return to the party, helping it take critical decisions with harmony and empowering the Chaudhrys to take strong decisions near the general elections.
Another reason for the decision was that the Chaudhrys were not happy with Saifullah’s announcement to support PML-Nawaz nominee Ishaq Dar for Senate opposition leader despite the fact that the PML-Q had switched to the treasury benches, said the source. When asked how Shujaat would be able to replace Saifullah with someone of his choosing, the source said all Shujaat had to do was request the Senate chairman to cancel Saifullah’s chairmanship.
“This committee’s chairmanship had been allocated to a PML-Q nominee and not to Saifullah himself. Since Shujaat is the party head, he could replace his nominee. Moreover, if necessary, all the members of the committee, belonging to the coalition parties, would simply submit an application to the Senate chairman to replace Saifullah with Shujaat’s nominee,” said the source.
Other dissident PML-Q chairmen of committees who are being eyed for replacement include Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture Chairman Senator Syed Javed Ali Shah; Senate Committee on Labour and Manpower Chairman Senator Naeem Hussain Chattha; Senate Committee on Ports and Shipping Chairwoman Senator Gulshan Saeed; Senate Committee on Postal Services Chairman Senator Mohabat Khan Mari, Senate Committee on Sports Chairman Senator Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi.
Those NA members who have been affiliated with the PML-Q dissidents and are currently holding chairmanships of NA standing committees include NA Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman Riaz Hussain Fatyana; NA Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chairman Shahzada Mohiuddin; NA Standing Committee on Labour and Manpower Chairman Dr Ghulam Haider Samejo, and NA Standing Committee on Postal Services Chairman Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla.
Even though Bodla and Mohiuddin have recently assured their support to Shujaat, their fate still hangs by a thread, added the source.

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