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Shahbaz failed to convince Nawaz to come on board: Elahi

ISLAMABAD: Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said Tuesday Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif could not convince his brother, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, to be on board over accepting PML-Q.

The statement comes as PML-Q, after considerable delay, formally announced siding with Prime Minister Imran Khan following the premier’s decision to nominate Elahi as the new Punjab chief minister — an offer that the latter accepted.

“We tread very carefully with them (PML-N) and the people who matter in the party were not on board. For example, Maryam Nawaz did not like the proposition. Her group was not ready to hand over everything [in Punjab] to a party that has seven to 10 seats,” he said during Geo News’ programme “Capital Talk”.

The PML-Q leader said that despite Shahbaz’s own stature, he could not convince people who mattered in his party and, at the same time, when the PML-N and PPP were sending their proposals, the PTI was also giving them “serious” offers.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan had himself called me and told me that he was waiting for me at Bani Gala — where the matter was settled. Even today, I met the prime minister, and he told me that his party gave a response about me,” Elahi said.

Proposal for MQM-P

Elahi further said that he had suggested to the prime minister to offer the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the governorship of Sindh to MQM-P — in a bid to garner their support for foiling the no-confidence motion.

The speaker of the Punjab Assembly said that he had spoken to Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, and he had also assured him that the MQM-P was on board.

A day earlier, senior MQM-P leader Waseem Akhtar had expressed reservations over PML-Q’s decision to side with the ruling PTI as the government allies were planning on taking a joint decision.

Jahangir Tareen group’s support in Punjab

Elahi said that he spoke to Jahangir Tareen and the disgruntled PTI leader had settled “matters with him”. The PML-Q leader said whilst Moonis Elahi was in London, he did not meet Tareen, but spoke over the phone with him.

“Jahangir Tareen was undergoing laser therapy during that time […] although he (Moonis) did not meet him, a delegation met Moonis on his behalf,” Elahi said.

On PML-Q leader Tariq Basheer Cheema’s decision to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion, Elahi said that he told the leadership that he had been in the government due to them, but has now decided to go against the party decision.

‘Baseless claims’

In response, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb rejected all claims of the PML-Q leader and termed them “baseless.”

“The statement of a 10-member party is baseless, there is no truth to it,” the PML-N spokesperson said in a statement.

Aurangzeb said that the joint Opposition had decided to give an offer to Elahi, but he has now rejected it.

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