Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has accused members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) of ‘blackmailing’ the government for the Punjab chief minister position in return for the party’s continued support to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
“I stand like a rock with Imran Khan,” said the interior minister during a press conference in Quetta on Saturday. “I am not responsible for anyone else. I am not like those people with five seats [in the NA] and who are blackmailing [the government] for the province’s chief ministry,” he added, a veiled reference to the PML-Q.
Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, a member of the PML-Q, took to Twitter to respond to Rashid’s comments, saying that he respected the interior minister but pointed out that he used to take money from the PML-Q when he was a student.
The PML-Q has been vying for the Punjab chief minister position, reportedly pressing the prime minister to announce Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to replace Usman Buzdar before the National Assembly session to hold the no-confidence vote.
“The PML-Q leadership has conveyed to the prime minister to announce Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi as the Punjab chief minister forthwith as this will help save the PTI government in Punjab in the face of ‘rebellion’ by the [Jahangir] Tareen group,” a source close to the matter told Dawn.
“If the premier does not take a timely decision with regard to nominating Parvez Elahi for the Punjab chief minister’s slot, the PML-Q is free to explore other options,” the source added.
Earlier in the day, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders reportedly presented a list of demands to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in exchange for the party’s support in the opposition’s no-confidence motion against the prime minister.