By Mayed Ali - Thursday, September 11, 2008
Lahore: Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer has made a formal offer to PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for mutual cooperation between the two parties at the Centre and in the Punjab, The News has learnt.
In a surprise visit to the Chaudhrys' residence here on Wednesday, Taseer asked Ch Shujaat Hussain to meet President Zardari for evolving a joint future political strategy beneficial to both the parties. The governor spelt out the president's plan on the same count.
Former Punjab CM Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Moonis Elahi and Governor's Media Adviser Farrukh Shah were also present in the meeting which lasted about an hour. Sources revealed the governor dilated upon the working relationship that can be developed between the two parties in the Punjab and at the Centre. With regard to the Punjab, the governor hinted at a change, which would also help the PML-Q regroup again.
It is learnt no power-sharing formula was discussed. However, the governor dropped the hint that the PML-Q's initiative in this regard could open up multiple opportunities for both parties at the Centre and in the provinces.
The governor told the Chaudhrys that the PPP intended to stop the PML-Q's disintegration in the Punjab and at the Centre if the two parties arrive at some sort of understanding. Though the governor unfolded mutual gains like a possible change in the Punjab and power-sharing at the Centre, he kept stressing the PML-Q's erosion.
Taseer believed the PML-Q first needed to gather itself, and that would be a great benefit for the party if both moved ahead together. The governor also expected the PML-Q to play its role in strengthening democracy in the country. He said the PML-Q could also play a positive role in pending legislation at the Centre in the form of the proposed constitutional package. The PML-Q, which seems a docile party as far as the numbers game is concerned, has a good number of senators, who can make all the difference in constitutional amendments.
After the meeting, the Chaudhry family discussed in detail the pros and cons of the offer. The family, so far, has remained uncertain about joining hands with the PPP for several reasons, including the family feud with the Bhuttos.
A majority of PML-Q's leaders had been wary of such an arrangement too. However, in recent days, there has been a deep concern with regard to party erosion, particularly after the presidential elections. It is learnt Ch Shujaat Hussain is giving a serious thought to the offer.
Sources said Ch Shujaat Hussain seemed willing to grab the opportunity against the backdrop of the fact the party's political future was at stake. The PML-Q leadership was briefed on the governor's meeting later in the day. However, no final decision was reached so far as the party president wished to discuss the matter at the appropriate party platform.