Khosa’s ‘removal’ puts PML-N’s political future at stake – by Afnan Khan
* Nationalists, lawmakers from S Punjab contacting Khosa family for a separate province
* PML-N leaders believe they will be isolated from national politics if South Punjab becomes province
* May launch reconciliatory move with Khosas
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s decision to remove Dost Muhammad Khosa from a key ministry over allegations of misconduct has jeopardised the party’s own future, as a number of nationalist parties and parliamentarians from southern Punjab have started contacting the Khosa family for the formation of a separate province.
On the other hand, mainstream parties such as the PML-Quaid were already pushing for the formation of a separate province in southern Punjab at the provincial and federal levels, while sources have told Daily Times that noted PML-Q lawmakers have also contacted the Khosa family to discuss the matter.
However, the issue is being viewed as a threat to the PML-N leadership, which seemed to be avoiding a debate in the provincial assembly on the issue by ‘wasting time’ supposedly allocated to a motion proposed by PML-Q MPA Imbisat Hamid. The PML-N MPAs allegedly “wasted” a lot of time by making speeches in favour of PML-N leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif on a point of order.
Isolation: PML-N sources told Daily Times that their leaders believed that they would be isolated from national politics if South Punjab became a separate province because the area is the PPP’s strongest hold in the province, as the prime minister and the foreign minister and many other senior PPP parliamentarians, belong to southern Punjab.
The sources added that the PML-N has also realised the situation and they might be launching a reconciliatory move between the Sharif and Khosa families in order to avoid a direct threat to the future of the party, as it could be restricted to the northern part of the province.
They said the PML-N realised that the Khosa family was one of the strongest political families of South Punjab and it would be a great blow to the party if they decided to split, and it is obvious that they might be offered a key position, such as chief ministership, if they supported the establishment of a new province.
The situation is likely to give a boost to the upcoming signature campaign and the move for the establishment of a new province in South Punjab, and a number of MPAs, especially those from the south, are likely to support the motion vigorously.
The sources from progressive and nationalists parties told Daily Times that the latest rift between the Sharifs and the Khosas after the removal of Dost Muhammad has proved a morale booster for smaller parties such as the Labour Party, Seraiki National Party and the Seraiki Party, while leaders of these parties have also started holding meetings to develop a future strategy for the strengthening of the campaign.
PML-Q spokesman Kamil Ali Agha told Daily Times that the unjust policies of the PML-N leadership were angering their own people. He said fair distribution of resources and an equal say in decision-making is the right of the people from southern Punjab, which is not possible without giving them more autonomy. He added that this is what the PML-Q has been struggling for.
Agha said the recent cabinet reshuffle by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has revealed that the PML-N leadership did not trust its own people and there was a dearth of competent people who could run the ministries.
He said the transfer of the powers of local government ministers to the CM had made it clear that the PML-N leadership was not sincere in holding local body elections any time soon.
PML-Q MPA Mohsin Leghari told Daily Times that the provincial government was supposed to hold local body elections within six months after the end of the previous local bodies’ tenure. He said the current tenure will expire in August, but there is no sign of holding the local body polls, despite the fact that the provincial government had promised to hold a debate over the issue in the provincial assembly, seminars and public meetings to inform all stakeholders about the elections and the LG system.
Commenting on Khosa’s removal from his ministry, Leghari said he considered the incident another discriminatory act against a prominent politician from South Punjab.
Labour Party Pakistan’s South Punjab-based leader and political analyst Suhail Javed told Daily Times that the Khosa family was significantly influential in Punjab and it would be a big blow to the PML-N if the family decided to split from the party despite the fact that chances of such a move are very thin.
Nationalist parties: He said all key political parties supported the demands of nationalist parties about the creation of a separate province, yet the PML-N is reluctant to do so because they are afraid of losing strength in Punjab as a result of the separation.
He said Seraiki leaders such as Taj Muhmmad Langa demanded the creation of a separate province consisting of Dera Ismail Khan, Mianwali, Khushab, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur and other linking districts, however key parties are talking about separating only a few districts such as Multan, Bahawalpur, Rajanpur and DG Khan.
Source: Daily Times