Internal strife weakening dissidents | Pakistan Today

Internal strife weakening dissidents

ISLAMABAD – The surfacing of a serious medical malpractice scandal against Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Unification Bloc leader Dr Tahir Ali Javed, coupled with bloc members not being included in the provincial cabinet, has caused strife inside the dissident group in Punjab.
According to media reports, Dr Javed is facing over 30 lawsuits in the US in connection with the largest known outbreak of Hepatitis-C there. Dr Javed, who practiced medicine in the US from 1989 to 2002, was accused by the state of Nebraska in connection with the Hepatitis outbreak, which has been linked to his former clinic. A bloc member said that the “opportunists” gathered around Dr Javed had started ditching him after the scandal.
“The members of the bloc are not ready to follow a tainted man as they feel it would be very difficult for Javed to make inroads in the country’s politics,” he said, adding that the PML-Nawaz would discard him after using him. Another provincial assembly member from the Unification Bloc, who asked not to be named, said the bloc was not included in the provincial cabinet to avoid disintegration.
“Everyone from the bloc was eyeing a ministerial position and was ready to stage a mutiny against Maneka and Javed in case they were not given a portfolio,” he said, adding that the strife within the bloc had forced the PML-N to not include its members in the cabinet. “Another factor that forced the PML-N leaders to reconsider their plan of giving provincial ministries to the bloc was the resistance and resentment from PML-N workers,” a PML-N leader said.
He said that the party’s candidates who had lost elections to bloc members had serious reservations about their party’s alliance with the dissident group. PML-Q leaders claim that a special cell under Khawaja Ahmed Hasaan at Chief Minister (CM)’s Secretariat had been facilitating bloc members for the last three years.
“This cell also makes sure of transfers and appointments of police officers and patwaris on the whim of bloc MPAs in their respective constituencies. Atta Maneka was provided Rs 2.1 million on special orders from the CM to get medical treatment from abroad,” said a PML-Q leader.
A PML-Q source told Pakistan Today that a number of dissidents from the bloc had started contacting the Chaudhrys. “In fact, some of the party MPAs joined the group only because of their differences with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, but they had no complaints with the party’s president Ch Shujaat Hussain. Now they are dealing directly with Shujaat,” he said, adding that the number of MPAs who attended Dr Javed’s meeting on March 4 was enough to expose the group’s real strength, or lack thereof.
He said that 22 to 26 MPAs participated in the meeting, contrary to Dr Javed’s claims that he enjoyed the backing of around 47 members of the provincial assembly out of 81. Faisal Saleh Hayat, PML-Q’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, said that the PML-N’s patronage to the “turncoats” was a complete negation of its claims of practicing politics of principles and morality.
“Where is its commitment made in the Charter of Democracy and on which moral high ground is the party standing today?” he questioned, adding that both Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif should take a fresh vote of confidence.
Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Chaudhry Zaheeruddin’s press conference was enough to open the eyes of the champions of democracy. “These self-proclaimed champions of democracy brought unelected people into the cabinet and threw elected representatives of the people out of it,” she said.
President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned a meeting of Pakistan People’s Party leaders and parliamentarians from Punjab on Tuesday to discuss the political situation which has emerged after the party’s ouster from the coalition government in Punjab.

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