ISLAMABAD: PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday for the second time in 24 hours and discussed the political situation in the aftermath of MQM`s parting of ways with the PPP both at the centre and in Sindh.
The media wing of the Prime Minister Secretariat confirmed both the meetings through official handouts on Monday and Tuesday. It said the two leaders had agreed that consensus and reconciliation were the best way for resolving issues being faced by the country.
Sources said Mr Gilani wanted Chaudhry Shujaat to play a role in bringing back the MQM to the government fold. The prime minister also asked the PML-Q leader to keep close liaison with rank and file of his party to avoid any possible defection.
In Punjab, 47 MPAs belonging to the PML-Q have switched to the PML-N side. Therefore, the sources said, the PPP leadership had warned the PML-Q chief against the defection of his MNAs because it could be dangerous for the PPP-led government at the centre.
With 50 PML-Q MNAs sitting on the treasury benches, the PPP is in a comfortable position at the centre where it has 127 MNAs, along with 13 belonging to the ANP. There will be no problem for the government if MQM`s 25 MNAs sit on the opposition benches.
But, the sources said, the PPP did not want to take any risk. Besides keeping its new coalition partner (PML-Q) intact, it will try to woo the Muttahida back to the government which, observers believe, is very unlikely.
The PML-N had in the past claimed that more than 12 PML-Q MNAs had given written commitment to joining the opposition party.
Talking to Dawn, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly had said that several PML-Q MNAs were willing to join the PML-N and the party would take a decision at an appropriate time.
A federal minister belonging to the PML-Q admitted that some of his party colleagues were eager to join the N-League and waiting for some opportune time. But he said: “The possibility of such an eventuality hitting the party will become clear only when there will be a clear sign of early general elections. Otherwise, they will have to wait for 2013 when next elections are due.”
About the Gilani-Shujaat meetings, the minister said the PML-Q and Muttahida had worked together in the Musharraf government and Chaudhry Shujaat shared a good rapport with Altaf Hussain which the PPP wanted to exploit to have a ceasefire with the MQM.
Talking to Dawn, PML-N spokesperson Ahsan Iqbal said his party was closely watching the fast changing political scenario and if the MQM did not rejoin the government the two parties could put up a joint opposition against the ruling PPP.
On Tuesday, the prime minister also met Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who is known for his troubleshooting role whenever differences emerged between the PPP and the MQM.