Amid Chaudhrys’ discord, new party on cards

The Chaudhrys of Gujrat continue to reel from the after-effects of the no-confidence motion — that muscled out Imran Khan from office earlier this year — as in-house duels have prompted serious considerations for carving out another party from within.

The two shrewd PML-Q leaders, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi, have over the years earned the prominence for their foresightedness in national politics, which eventually led to the party’s elevation in the political sphere. However, it is also hard to ignore the behind-the-scenes maneuverings and the role played by Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain. The trio has successfully forwarded the political legacy of Chaudhry Zahoor Ali.

The family’s new generation, which came of age politically after inheriting the strong political legacy from the Chaudhry brothers, has apparently abandoned the traditions.

The 'ginger group' is now on the cusp of being transformed into an independent party.

Today, the family is at a crossroads whereby it is marred by internal differences, as two major camps exist within the party — those who support the PML-N and the other that backs the PTI.

Shujaat sides with the PML-N given that his son, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, desired to become a federal minister in the incumbent coalition set-up. Meanwhile, Shujaat’s younger brother Wajahat and his son, Chaudhry Hussain Elahi, tread the opposite route, desiring to align with the PTI.

Shujaat’s youngest brother, Chaudhry Shafaat Hussain, who is disgruntled with the family’s policies, remains silent and has withdrawn from the family.

'Next 24 hours crucial'

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Wajahat, who is known for his reconciliatory stance, said he would make one last effort in the next 24 hours to end the differences within the family.

He added that a meeting had been arranged with Shujaat and Pervaiz, following which he would talk to the central officials of the party as neither his son nor their voters supported the alliance with PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif’s family.

He further said that if Salik resigned from the ministry, the family could avoid disintegration.

Analysts are of the view that most members of the family are on Wajahat and Pervaiz’s side while the only member of the family, led by Tariq Bashir Cheema, would also be brought back by catering to their demands and giving them the required importance.

However, if reconciliation fails, then according to sources, Wajahat and Pervaiz, along with their sons, will form a new party.

The family has been closely knit when it comes to politics and differences did not become so prominent.

Pervaiz made significant efforts to establish Shujaat’s sons, while Wajahat’s sons emerged under his patronage. Similarly, Pervaiz sponsored the politics of his son, Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, who went on to become a federal minister in the PTI government.

During former military president Pervez Musharraf’s rule, Shujaat’s younger brother Shafaat was elected as a district nazim, but he angered many workers, colleagues and family members.

This led to a cold war within the party. However, out of respect for Shujaat, he did not part ways and rather adopted silence. But things appear to be different now.

Amid these cruel political calculations and shifting alliances as leaders of the opposition parties are trying to resolve the rift within the family, the PML-Q voters are facing a strange dilemma, holding Salik’s brother-in-law Cheema, along with a key Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leader, responsible for this.

Separately, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday called on Shujaat at the latter’s residence in Islamabad and they agreed to work together for the security and development of the country.

The two leaders discussed the political situation in the country as well as the budget 2022-23 presented by the new government.

JUI-F Central Secretary General Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri was also present on the occasion.

Both Fazl and Shujaat agreed that the incumbent government would use all its resources to address the problems faced by the people.

The two leaders accepted that it was it was time to set aside the all differences and the priority should be pull the nation out of the economic crisis together.

They also vowed to stay in touch in the future as well.

Fazl and Shujaat maintained that the former rulers had pushed the country into its ongoing economic challenges, which required concerted efforts to overcome.

(With input from our correspondent in Islamabad)

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