Chaudhrys distance themselves from ‘Q’-Shahbaz meeting


ISLAMABAD: The Chaudhry brothers have distanced themselves from the meeting between Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid senators and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif that is being seen as thawing of relations between the rival factions.
Senators Tariq Azeem and SM Zafar of the PML-Q met Shahbaz on Sunday to convey a message from PML-F leader Pir Pagara. Nisar Ali Khan, Khawaja Asif and Senator Ishaq Dar were also present in the meeting. Media reports said PML-Q President Shujaat Hussain had been on board with the two senators, but the PML-Q leader issued a rebuttal on Monday, saying the senators had visited Shahbaz in their own capacity.
The press release issued by the PML-Q says, “The meeting of party senators with Shahbaz Sharif was their personal move having no link with the party and they never met Shahbaz as representative of the party.” A PML-Q leader told Pakistan Today that the meeting with the PML-N’s central command was an initiative by Tariq Azeem, “who has a soft corner for the PML-N since long”.
On the other hand, sources said Azeem and other party leaders feel that they were not taken on board when Shujaat and Mushahid Hussain announced a merger with the PML-F. “When they can undertake silent negotiations with other PML factions without taking us into confidence, why can’t we exercise the right?” a disgruntled PML-Q leader asked Pakistan Today.
On the other hand, a PML-N source said that soon after the reports of the meeting between the two sides appeared in the media, Nawaz Sharif telephoned his spokesman from London and asked him to scuttle the impression that any unification deal was being discussed between the two parties.