IT is, indeed, a matter of concern that the party of the veteran Muslim Leaguer Ch.Shujaat Hussain, who has all along been making efforts for unification of all PML factions, has virtually split into two groups.
Those led by former Chief Minister Ch Pervez Elahi held a consultative meeting in Lahore on Thursday and removed Ch. Shujaat Hussain as party head besides removal of Tariq Bashir Cheema as Central Secretary General of the party.
They have been replaced by Ch Wajahat Hussain and Kamil Ali Agha in a move that has been described as unlawful and mere a publicity stunt by loyalists of Ch Shujaat Hussain.
The party practically stood divided since April this year as its MNAs are supporting the coalition Government in the Centre while Ch Pervez Elahi bagged the post of Chief Minister after extending numerical support to PTI in Punjab.
However, the differences within the ranks of the PML(Q) widened after indications by Pervez Elahi to merge the party with PTI ahead of general elections.
Analysts believe Elahi’s preference is motivated by his desire to clinch control of the merged entity in case of disqualification of Imran Khan.
However, his announcement was considered as against the Constitution of the party by the party President Ch.Shujaat, who believed a provincial president cannot merge the party with another party and served a notice on Elahi to explain his position.
Elahi reacted by removing Shujaat from the top slot of the party through a process that is being challenged by the other side.
In response to the latest move, PML-Q leader and Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema said that Shujaat is the party’s president and “serious members” still stand with him.
He declared that PML-Q’s general council would meet in the next 10 days in Islamabad, where Elahi and his backers will understand how “popular Shujaat is”.
It seems PML(Q) is in for a protracted legal battle, which would harm the interests of the party and it might lose its bargaining power with other parties if issues were not settled on a priority basis and through consensus.