PML-Q trying to come out of Musharraf’s shadow—>The News

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PML-Q trying to come out of Musharraf’s shadow

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which despite being in the opposition is still seen as the king’s party, is struggling to get out of President Musharraf’s shadow and is planning to take popular decisions that may include support for the restoration of judges.

Pro-president voices are fast dying down in the party, created by Musharraf through the ISI to perpetuate his military rule, amid reports that a considerable number of party MPs, both in the National and the Punjab assemblies, are exasperated and trying to detach the party from the presidency.

“Despite being in the opposition, we are being suspected and not treated in the manner as opposition is usually treated,” an influential PML-Q leader told this correspondent, revealing that even the Chaudhrys of Gujrat were now not that enthusiastic in their love for President Musharraf.

Even a family source of the Chaudhrys admits that the recent covert move of the presidency to change the PML-Q leadership had greatly disappointed both Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi, who now feel as if they have been stabbed in their back after all they have done for the man at the top.

Though the attempt to change the PML-Q leadership has failed, it has caused mistrust in the relationship between the Chaudhrys and president. However, the two sides are still in contact. Apart from what has happened behind the scenes in the recent weeks and months, a large number of PML-Q MPs are keenly pursuing the policy of detaching the party from the presidency. A Q leader lamented that while in the government they were referred as the king’s men, now when they are in the opposition they are not being treated accordingly both by the media and people.

“There is a growing realisation that unless we publicly detach ourselves from the president, the PML-Q cannot continue as a party that enjoys the trust of the people,” the source said, admitting that any connection with the president at this point of time would be damaging for the political future of the party. The source disclosed that in an indoor meeting, a dominant majority of the Q MPAs in the Punjab had already voiced their opposition to the presidency-PML-Q nexus. These Leaguers are not interested to get the party merged into the PML-N and rather resolve to retain the party as an independent entity. But for this, the party sources agree the PML-Q must sit in the opposition and act like a true opposition instead of serving as the mouthpiece of the presidency.

Some Q-Leaguers, even including those very close to the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, are discussing the option of taking the popular stance of favouring pre-Nov 3, 2007 judiciary’s restoration. “This is the right time to admit before the people that we did wrong in the past and tender an apology and announce our unconditional support to the government to get the deposed judges restored,” an important Q-Leaguer said, adding that in his view, the party should stay in the opposition and should not join the government even if it got the opportunity because of any rift created between the PPP and PML-N.