Pakistan’s Chaudhries pull out all stops to save their falling empire

November 14th, 2007 - 8:09 am ICT by admin  
However, after October 12, 1999, when General Pervez Musharraf assumed power in a bloodless coup and elevated an Income Tax Group officer Tariq Aziz as his Principal Secretary, a buddy from his FC College Lahore days, and made him in-charge of all political wheeling dealings whether in the national politics or backroom talks with India, it was the defining moment in the political careers of the Chaudhries of Gujrat, as Tariq Aziz was not only from Gujrat city but their old family friend.

The premier Spy Agency of the country, the ISI, set up a King’s Party to favour General Pervez Musharraf by forcing 70 ex-parliamentarians of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to defect and forced them to join new party which was named as the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam.

Tariq Aziz installed Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the President of Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam, and their political fiefdom expanded from the small city of Gujrat to the whole of the country. From that day on, the Chaudhries learnt a lesson that Byzantine intrigues are the only guaranteed solution to survive in Pakistani politics.

With the Washington-London brokered deal between Islamabad and ex-premier Bhutto, the Chaudhries are visualising a shrinking of their political fiefdom and are fearful about the return of the days of uncertainty, when winning a single parliamentary seat from their native district of Gujrat was everything for them.

As a result, the formation of an anti-Bhutto alliance is once again the cornerstone of their strategy for which they have agreed to make an alliance even with former premier Nawaz Sharif whom they betrayed after Sharif was removed from power by Musharaf in 1999.

According to sources close to the Chaudhries, Chaudhry Shujaat hussian secretly met Sharif twice in the last quarter and persuaded him to be a friendly opposition so that his family and he could return to Pakistan.

However, the scene displayed last Sunday at Karachi Airport showed Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s utter desperation when he coincidently came across with the acting President of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group, Javed Hashmi and spoke about half an hour with him in the departure lounge.

Hashmi was recently released from jail after a prolonged period of imprisonment for allegedly abetting a mutiny against the Pakistan Army.

According to an eye witness, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain reminded Javed Hashmi, an anti-Bhutto student leader in the mid 1970s of the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba, the student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami, of the days when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s father, Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi and Javed worked together.

Even after the murder of Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, which is believed to have been carried out by defunct militant wing loyal to former premier Z.A Bhutto, Al-Zulfiqar, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Javed Hashmi worked together in various governments as ministers and both were known for their hardline stance against the Pakistan Peoples Party. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain desperately asked Hashmi to prepare Nawaz Sharif for a seat adjustment in Punjab to block the Pakistan Peoples Party’s entry in Punjab. Hashmi promised Shujaat to speak with Nawaz on the matter.

Punjab is the biggest province of Punjab where a marriage of convenience is the compulsion for all right-wing political parties including Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz to enable themselves in a strong bargaining position against Pakistan Peoples Party and its secular and liberal alliance.

However, this marriage of convenience is the biggest compulsion of the Chaudhries of Gujrat, among all, to save their falling empire. By Syed Saleem Shahzad (ANI)

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