The PML(Q)’s break-up seems inevitable, now that the party’s Central Working Committee, called by Punjab general secretary Senator Kamil Ali Agha, has stripped party President Ch Shujaat Hussain and central secretary general Tariq Bashir Cheema of their posts. There had clearly been a rift after Ch Shujaat wrote a letter to the party’s 10 MPAs to vote against Punjab President Ch Pervez Elahi in the runoff election for CM. Those MPAs voted for Ch Pervez, but that letter made the Deputy Speaker rule that the votes not be counted. The Supreme Court then ruled that the votes be counted, with Ch Pervez being elected.
The move came the day before the Speaker’s election, vacated after Pervez’s becoming CM. Clearly, the immediate motive was to nullify the effect of cH Shujaat instructing the MPAs to vote for someone. The CWC meeting also passed a resolution instructing the MPAs to vote for the PTI candidate. The PML(Q) is itself a remnant, having started out as the party into which those who left the PML(N) under Musharraf. It was then joined by the PPP Patriots, who had won on the PPP ticket in 2003, but joined the government. Post-Musharraf, the PML(Q) saw itself shrink, but the Chaudhrys of Gujrat tried to remain politically relevant, once even aligning with the PPP with Ch Pervez becoming Deputy PM. On Sunday, the victory of the PTI-PML(Q) candidate, and the votes he received, reflecte vthat Ch Pervez had prevailed in the parliamentary party.
Though there may well be a family dynamic involved, with Shujaat’ son Salik Hussain not getting along with Pervez’s son Moonis Elahi the way their fathers workedc, and it a strong possibility that supporting the PTII or not is merely an excuse. Be that as it may, it shows that the Supreme Court did not address the question of what happens to a parliamentary party when the party itself splits. The response of hujaat’s supporters is awaited, but the likelihood of counter-suspensions, amid claims that the CWC meeting was unconstitutional. Apart from the Punjab Assembly party, there is the National Assembly party where matters are not yet clear. What happens to MNAs following Ch Sghu7jaat, against whom a letter lands asking for their defeating? The Supreme Court may find it has many more questions to answer about Article 63A.