It is a foregone conclusion that Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is feeling the need for even more political control in Punjab. He is taking every step with absolute care. “He is being very realistic,” said vetran journalist Suhail Warraich.
Elahi declared on December 5 that the Punjab Assembly would “continue the same way for the next four months till March”. His statement indicates that he is parting ways with his ally Imran Khan, to whom, till just a week ago, he “owed” the assembly.
On November 26, Imran Khan at the end of the Long March announced the intention of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to quit the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies to distance themselves from the “current corrupt political system” of the country.
Soon after, CM Pervaiz Elahi pledged loyalty to him, and said he would not “hesitate for a moment” if Khan ordered him to dissolve the Punjab Assembly. He was ready to give his “life for Imran Khan”.
Somewhere in between Elahi’s pattern of thoughts changed. What transpired is anyone’s guess.
Elahi’s main source of support and loyalty is, as was in the past, the establishment. Therefore, it is widely believed that politics of the province is run from behind-the-scenes.
According to Warraich, Pervaiz Elahi is following a well thought out policy and is taking guesswork out of his political strategy. “He wants his party to remain loyal to the establishment as well as Imran Khan in Punjab.”
However, he added, “Elahi may face problems in bridging the gap between the establishment and Imran Khan”.
It is glaringly clear that Punjab Assembly will not be dissolved, and predictably, the nation will hear PTI chairman roar that Elahi’s appointed was a great mistake. Will this be his last snarl? Will this be a moment of reckoning that the lion must be tamed?
But in politics loyalties are normally based on personal interest and true friendships hardly ever exist. There is no reason to think Elahi, seasoned politician and chief minister of the largest province of Pakistan, is an exception.
Journalist Shahid Maitla while speaking in Naya Daur’s show Khabar Say Aagay, said Elahi would never agree to dissolving the assembly since he knows that “this is his final stint as Punjab chief minister”.
Also, it’s in Khan’s interest that assemblies continue to function. “He is enjoying the provincial government’s facilities, like a helicopter and development funds,” added Warraich.
Journalist Muzamal Suharwardy said Punjab CM’s latest narrative has been crafted to please “Pindi” and he will remain in office and the Punjab Assembly will not be dissolved.
Pervaiz Elahi is walking a fine line in shifting his stance on Punjab’s politics. The PML-Q leader’s son Moonis recently claimed that General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had advised his party to support the PTI during the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Imran Khan in April this year.
What is clearly at the centre of his posture is: self interest, not peoples’ interest he pledged to protect.
Meanwhile it is glaringly clear that Punjab Assembly will not be dissolved, and predictably, the nation will hear PTI chairman roar that Elahi’s appointed was a great mistake. Will this be his last snarl? Will this be a moment of reckoning that the lion must be tamed?