Qureshi, PPP patch-up after blazing row

February 15th, 2011 - 12:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Feb 15 (IANS) Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have buried the hatchet with the former foreign minister, who was upset at not getting the portfolio in the downsized cabinet, saying he has “no personal grievances” and the ruling party declaring that no disciplinary action would be taken against him. Qureshi said in a statement that he had “no personal grievances” against the party and its leadership over his exclusion from the 22-strong batch inducted Friday.

He was offered the water and power ministry in the downsizing of the cabinet last week but refused.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has not yet named a new foreign minister.

Qureshi said he respected the party’s decision to change the cabinet, Dawn reported Tuesday.

The statement came after calls from some PPP members for disciplinary action against him for refusing to accept a change in portfolio.

Soon thereafter, Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for PPP co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari, said reports of a disciplinary action against the former foreign minister were “wrong”.

Qureshi said in his statement: “I respect the party leadership’s decision to change the cabinet and I hold, and have always held, the interests of the country, the party and its leadership in high esteem.”

He added that he was “committed to the party and the ideals and principles” …(it) has traditionally stood for”.

In a reference to arrested US consulate official Raymond Davis who shot dead two Pakistanis Jan 27 that sparked a diplomatic spat between Washington and Islamabad, Qureshi said: “…I confirmed certain facts pertaining to the Raymond Davis case”.

Qureshi is facing criticism after he said Saturday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “forced” him to confirm the diplomatic immunity for Davis.

Davis claimed to have acted in self-defence as the two were trying to rob him. The incident led to the death of a third Pakistani who came under the vehicle which arrived at the scene to help Davis escape from the spot.

Babar told Dawn that the position of the party on the issue of Davis was “unambiguous and quite clear”.

“The issue is before the court and it is imprudent to comment on it,” he was quoted as saying.

Babar clarified that PPP information secretary Fauzia Wahab’s statement that Davis enjoyed diplomatic immunity “is neither party policy nor government policy. She (Fauzia) herself has clarified that it is her personal opinion”.

Wahab Sunday said that the party would take a serious disciplinary action against Qureshi for violating party discipline. She said the former foreign minister has no future in the party.

Party sources had earlier said that Qureshi was upset by Zardari’s move to prevent him from issuing any statement as foreign minister on the Davis issue and instead assign it to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Sources added that Zardari was also unhappy with Qureshi for skipping his meeting with a US Congress delegation last week and the president had admonished Qureshi for this in front of other members during a core committee meeting.

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