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PML-Q, the opportunist

"The ultimate instinct for any politician to go to parliament should be in interest of Pakistan and its people"

Yesterday was a thrilling day for domestic politics as the major headline was PML-Q joining hands with Imran Khan. This move by PML-Q was quite scandalous. Now many will argue that the PML-Q is supporting the PTI as they have done in the past and there is nothing disgraceful about it, but can we talk about how PML-Q kept looking for an opportunity to make the most out of this tug of war between opposition and government?

This move would not be disgraceful if PML-Q had announced its support earlier without seeking any benefit. But instead, the PML-Q kept negotiating with both government and opposition for the post of chief minister of Punjab. Unlike disgruntled members of PTI who had definite reasons to go against Khan and support opponents, PML-Q had no significant agenda. It was all set to support anyone who would offer them a CM seat without any question. PTI, against its will, offered this seat and the PML-Q readily joined the squad back. This was disgraceful on so many levels. It can be said the PML-Q senior leader Chaudhry Shujaat might have objections to this, but PML-Q as a party did not come up with any concrete reasoning on why they would pick one side, its whole interest was centred around the CM seat.

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For many, this coalition between PML-Q and PTI at this moment was a surprise as it was not expected that PTI will let go its Wasim Akram plus, Usman Buzdar, just to attract PML-Q. However, it is not much of a surprise that PML-Q joined hands with the government in exchange for the CM office if we take a look at their pattern as they have a history of siding with the powerful one.

In May 2011, PML-Q joins the federal government of PPP. This alliance was based on the mutual interests of both parties. PPP needed the votes of the PML-Q to pass it budget, while PML-Q needed its support to find leverage for the corruption case against Moonis Elahi. Other than this, they were not offered any major perks of siding along with the federal government. There were plans that both parties will stand together against PML-N, but this alliance was short-lived.

March 2013, the alliance between PPP and PPP broke over a seat. Chaudhry Pervez Elahi wanted to run for election in NA-105, but PPP decided not to withdraw its candidate in favour of Pervez Elahi. This was the last time PPP and PML-Q were seen together.

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In May 2014, PTI seeks a coalition from PML-Q. PML-N successfully sailed through general elections in 2013 without any alliances. And since PTI failed to secure a majority, Imran khan contacted Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-Q Punjab president Chaudhry Pervez Elahi to start a movement against PML-N. Following the same month, a formal alliance between both parties was announced for electoral reforms, and somehow, PPP was also on the same as them.

Cut to 2018, PTI wins the election, but fails to secure an overwhelming majority, due to which it needs allies to form government in Punjab, and to make Imran Khan the prime minister. The PML-Q sided with PTI and PTI achieved both its objectives.

In March 2021, Bilawal tried to convince PML-Q to vote in favour of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for the chairman senate position, but they did not agree as they did not want to offend PTI.

Considering the pattern above, it can be concluded that PML-Q sides with the party in power. It sided with PPP when it was in power. It wanted to side with PMLN, but since PML-N had a safe majority, they did not consider PML-Q. Even during the PTI sit-in, PML-N approached PPP, but not PML-Q. PML-Q then joined PTI when they came to power. And this time, they are again supporting PTI for their own benefit. PML-Q desperately wanted the office of the chief minister and by crook they finally got it.

Political parties are ensuring their survival at the expense of their ideals. Like many other parties, PML-Q is also trying to ensure its survival. However, it does not suit a political party to compromise its morals for the sake of a post. The ultimate instinct for any politician to go to parliament should be the interest of Pakistan and its people. And if a party chooses one side, it needs to give a concrete basis for their decision as well. And that concrete basis should not be “they gave us the seat so we are with them”.

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