PML-Q will surprise all


POLITICAL stalwart Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is a senior Pakistani conservative politician hailing from Gujarat and a business oligarch who previously served as 16th Prime Minister for three months in 2004 during a transitional period to accommodate Shaukat Aziz. Chaudhry Sahib has been President of the PML-Q since 2003. He successfully contested the non-party 1985 election and was appointed as Minister for Industry in the government of the then Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo (1985-88). He also held additional ministerial portfolio of Information and Defence Production Ministries of Defence Production in Junejo Govt.
Shujaat Hussain served as Interior Minister in the government of Nawaz Sharif in two non-consecutive terms from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999. Originally a loyalist of Nawaz Sharif, he defected to autocratic leader Pervaiz Musharraf after 1999 military coup and became member of the new PML-Q. His family remains influential in national politics and his cousin Ch.Pervaiz Elahi served as Chief Minister Punjab from 2002 to 2007 during Musharraf’s military rule. Following the 2008 election and Musharraf’s resignation, Shujaat and his party became a major ally of the then ruling PPP. He entered the national politics after the assassination of his father, Ch.Zahoor Elahi in 1981. He participated and campaigned successfully in non-party 1985 general election and maintained ties with PML. He became a crucial power broker in the far-right regime of Zia-ul Haq. Shujaat Hussain was imprisoned during second tenure of Benazir Bhutto in 1994 in politically-motivated cases filed by the then FIA DG Rahman Malik. After 1990 and 1997 elections, Chaudhry Shujaat served as Interior Minister. He was one of high-profile members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Cabinet. However, he developed serious disagreement and confronted Nawaz Sharif after imposition of economic emergency by Nawaz Sharif in 1998 after nuclear tests.
After the 12 October 1999 coup, he did not join the PML-Q, a splinter group of PML. In 2001, he decided to defect to PML-Q after Sharif was exiled to Saudi Arabia in 2000 and contested from Gujrat through the PML-Q platform during the 2002 general election. Initially, he became parliamentary party leader in the National Assembly, but assumed the presidency of the party when the Party Founder Mian Azhar resigned from the party in January 2003. Shujaat endorsed and provided his support to appoint his lifelong friend Zafarullah Khan Jamali as country’s first Baloch Premier. Previously, he also played a role in bringing Shaukat Aziz in national politics. However, in 2004 Jamali resigned and Shujaat was appointed {Interim} PM to pave the way for Shaukat Aziz’s premiership, who was Finance Minister in the Jamali-led Government, but not a Member of National Assembly, which is a pre-requisite for holding the PM Office. On 23 August 2004, he handed over the Office of Prime Minister to Shaukat Aziz, though Shujaat remained President of PML-Q. Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, his cousin, previously served as the CM Punjab and also held the position of Deputy Prime Minister in Pakistan Peoples Party’s last government. His younger brother, Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, has also been elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab for three times (1988–1990, 1990–1993, 1997–1999) and also won from the constituency NA-104 of National Assembly in 2002 and 2008 general elections. Chaudhry Wajahat Husain is linked to numerous scams of Hawala and Money laundering, and has wreaked havoc on the local populace.
Ch Shujaat Hussain has been a strong and vocal supporter of Pakistan’s relationship with international community. He has always helped in bringing investment to the country. He supports foreign investors’ model of economy in the country. For his efforts, the South Korean government named him “Honorary Consul General” of Republic of Korea. He is also a recipient of South Korea’s highest diplomatic award Order of the Diplomatic Service Merit “Ueung-in-Metal” for distinguished services in promoting mutual relations between Pakistan and Republic of Korea. As a veteran political stalwart Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has always been dominating Pakistani politics. His political career is spread over four decades. Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari are facing corruption cases against them. IK seems to be unsuccessful in handling the country’s political and economic situation. In such circumstances once again PML-Q remains the only choice. I foresee Chaudhry Shujaat-led PML-Q will play a pivotal role in the forthcoming general election. During Musharraf regime PML-Q has successfully delivered. So as an alternative political power, PML-Q will again come into power. Chaudhry Shujaat has been fighting ailments courageously. Hence, he very rightly has deputed Central Senior Vice President PML-Q Yousaf Khan Hoti for political and diplomatic responsibilities. Young Hoti is blessed with outstanding sense of political acumen. Under the directions of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Hoti is working hard to reorganise and channelize PML-Q not only in the country but oversees also. In the next political setup, PML-Q and JUI-F will play main role in framing the government. After the failure of PTI government, PML-Q will remain in driving seat in the next setup. PML-Q, along with JUI-F, will surprise during next power game.
— The writer is book ambassador, columnist, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.