The significance of Zardari-Pervaiz meeting
Punjab PML-Q President and provincial legislature’s Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s meeting with PPP supremo and former president Asif Ali Zardari at Lahore’s Bilawal’s House on Tuesday is very significant because of the present and the likely future role of their respective parties.
This contact will open the doors to future cooperation between the two parties.
The meeting has taken place at a time when Zardari and many other PPP leaders are facing NAB cases and Prime Minister Imran Khan, with whom Chaudhrys are coalition partners since the 2018 elections, has no tolerance for them because of their alleged involvement in corruption. (The premier’s opinion of the PML-N leaders is also no different for the same reason).
The Gujrat politicians are a success story in all periods and they are known for having a watchful eye on the likely future situation.
Likewise, Zardari knows the art of making impossible things possible – a rare species in the present era.
If history is anything to go by, no party in Pakistan has got a second consecutive term in power, no matter what kind of performance they showed during their incumbency.
This being so, some party other than the PTI will rule the country after the next elections. (A known pro-government TV claimed on Wednesday that the elections would be held before 2023, the year when the assemblies will complete their mandated five-year term).
Despite the popularity, the PML-N’s chances are blighted because of its leadership’s fight against the army and ISI bosses, the real decision-makers.
This ground reality establishes that of the major parties the PPP is likely to play a more important role in the future than it is playing at present, which is confined to Sindh. This factor augments the significance of PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi’s meeting with former president Zardari.
The PTI leaders will certainly use all their resources and means to gather maximum information about the outcome of Pervaiz-Zardari sitting and its likely future impact.
Needless to point out that Chaudhrys are among the politicians who have successfully exploited all situations to their benefit. They have been in limelight during the martial laws as well civilian rules. Their flexible attitude has always brought them results beyond anyone’s imagination.
Not many people remember that there was a time when Chaudhrys and the PPP were the bitterest enemies. The former held the latter responsible for the murder of Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, as Mir Murtaza Bhutto’s terrorist organization Al-Zulfikar was behind it.
However, after the 2008 elections Dr Babar Awan’s mediation cleared that misunderstanding and the two sides got closer. It was during the PPP rule that Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi became deputy prime minister, a post that did not exist in the Constitution.
During Gen Musharraf’s rule Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi remained Punjab chief minister for a full term, a position that raised the political stature of the family.
Likewise, during the same era Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain became the elected prime minister of Pakistan, although he could not continue for more than two months because of his poor health.
These roles played by the two cousins in a way brought the Chaudhrys on a par with the Sharif Brothers (who served as prime minister and Punjab chief minister for three terms).
Since the Sharifs were victims and Chaudhrys were the beneficiaries of the Musharraf era, the relations between the two families, that were enviable in the past, were badly affected.
However, they have mended the fences after years of estrangement.
Many months ago, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had said in an interview that differences between the two sides have been settled and they would cooperate with each other in the times ahead.
Chaudhrys’ ties with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman are also very strong. Nobody should be beguiled by the periodic adversarial statements by the two sides.
When DI Khan’s leader had staged a long march on Islamabad to bring down the PTI’s ‘selected’ government and started a sit-in there, it was the Chaudhrys who had persuaded him to wind up the protest.
AS of now, Chaudhrys are coalition partners with Imran Khan and at the same time have best possible ties with his adversaries: PPP, PML-N and JUI-F.