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Saturday Jan 18 2020
Web Desk

Is the PTI government going through 'aftershocks' of the Azadi March?

Web Desk
Geo News anchor Shahzad Iqbal asks MQM-P and PML-Q leader if the government’s allies are acting on an ‘understanding’ between Pervaiz Elahi and Fazlur Rehman during the Azadi March day. Photo: File

Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had left everyone baffled when he revealed a few months ago that Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) caravan had decided to abort its mission to topple the government based on an “understanding”. 

A few months later, as the Pakistan Tehreeke-e-Insaaf (PTI) government tried to woo the MQM-P, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), the PML-Q and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Fazl during a press conference said that the government was experiencing the “aftershocks” of the Azadi March.

During Friday's edition of Geo News programme Naya Pakistan, MQM-P’s Faisal Sabzwari, PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha and Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry were asked whether or not the government’s allies were acting on the basis of the “understanding” that was reached between Elahi and Fazl during the Azadi March days.

“We initially did not want to become part of the government,” said Sabzwari, talking about the events that led to the MQM-P joining the federal coalition. “However, the PTI had an afterthought later due to which they decided to take us on-board and we agreed as well.”

Sabzwari categorically denied the question of whether MQM-P and other allies were trying to destabilise the government as per the understanding between the PML-Q and the JUI-F.

He said the MQM-P and PTI had agreed on a set of demands which were “public documents” and available for all to see. Sabzwari said the party did not want anything special for Karachi.

“The government built a Rs12bn corridor in Kartarpur and announced a Rs10bn package for FATA. The allocation for Rs5bn for Sindh is wrong,” he said.

Responding to a question, Sabzwari agreed that the MQM-P’s demands had to be met by the local government.

“We are not asking the federal government to introduce a new system of local government,” he said. “We know that the provincial government should do. We want it to be an independent system. Our petition is in the court since the past year. All we hope from the government is that the attorney general shed some light on how to resolve the matter,” he said.

‘Not even a mosquito satisfied with Buzdar’s performance'

Senator Kamil Ali Agha, in response to a question, said “not even a mosquito was satisfied” with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s performance. He added the PML-Q was standing beside Buzdar as Prime Minister Imran Khan had nominated him for the post.

The PML-Q leader further said his party had never indulged in conspiracies in the past and neither would it do so again. 

Speaking about Elahi’s stint at the Punjab chief minister, Agha said “thousands of people wished to see him [Elahi] become the chief minister again.”

“We do not talk [to the PTI] about individuals. Rather, we only ask the government to improve its performance,” he said. “The PTI is the largest party in Punjab Assembly and we are standing beside it. However, as their ally, we will continue to convey our reservations to the PTI,” he added.

Agha said the PML-Q had been annoyed by the provincial government’s interference in the ministries given to the PML-Q by the PTI. He said the PTI had also not released development funds to the Punjab government ministers, another bone of contention between the two parties.

Agha added his party will decide what to do in case the PTI does not comply with the two demands within one week. He said it was a “relevant question” as to what the PML-Q will do.

Fawad Chaudhry predicts allies will stick with govt 

Chaudhry said during the show that the government’s allies will stick with the coalition. 

He said the opposition was “leaderless” and there was no leader currently who could match the stature of PM Imran hence, it was not possible that the government would be sent packing.