Ch. Shujat Hussain
PML-Q to support Nawaz On national issues
Ch Shujat Hussain talks to Centreline and DNA
In an exclusive interview with Centerline and DNA former Prime Minister and President Pakistan Muslim league (Q) Senator Chudhary Shujat Hussain reveals causes of his party’s complete failure in the May 11 elections, his alliance with former Dictator General Pervez Musharraf and President Asif Ali Zardari. Following is the full text of Q & A with the senior politician of the country who was once the king-maker in the country.
Q. What was the real cause of your party defeat in the recently held general election in the country?
A. Basically our alliance with the Peoples Party government damaged our party’s image badly. Most of our party leaders went to other parties or contested the elections as independents and lost the election. Those few who won as independents candidates promised to join the Q league after the elections but they went to the ruling party. Another reason of losing the elections was rigging in various constituencies by the returning officers. Before the election our estimate was that the party would win at least 35 to 40 seats, the independent analysts and survey estimated 15 to 20 seats, however, the result was totally opposite to our expectations. It was shocking for all of us.
Q. Do you think your decision of joining President Asif Ali Zardari’s government was wrong as his regime was considered the most corrupt in the history of our country? Was your party part and parcel of the plundering by the PPP?
A. The time we joined the PPP government was the correct decision because we thought even if we did not join President Zardari’s government most of our MNAs and senators would join either PPP or PML(N). So we thought it’s better to join PPP and avoid split in the party. Our strategy worked well today it would be unjust to call that decision wrong. Question asked about the plundering of state institutions by the former government and the Q role in it, Shujat Hussain did not comment. Naturally Q league was part of the government and they had a role too.
Q. When Musharraf took over in 1999, you went with him and left Nawaz Sharif, when he was removed from the power you went to President Zardari, this indicates that you and your cousin Pervez Elahi were just interested in power, you don’t believe in the politics of ideology.
A. There was no concept of politics of ideology in Pakistan. I am the one who organized this party and were contributing for the country. During Musharraf era our party created space for the politics and democracy. I was the one who opposed the anti-Pakistan and anti-public policies and decisions but in certain important issues the party was not consulted by Former President Musharraf.
Q. So is the Q league as a political party had eliminated and turned into the family limited company? The reality was that only two cousins were running affairs of the party because 99 per cent people have left you.
A. I don’t agree with you, the party is very much there and soon we will contact party members from different districts of the country. For the time being we want to wait and see how the new government takes important decisions, make policies and rules the country. We have to see this set up for six month and then would constitute the future line of action.
Q. Why all important politicians left your party and most of them have joined PML (N) and Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf?
A. I have no idea it would be better to ask this question from those who have left us. Naturally they went after personal political benefits. This culture has to be changed in the country. When Amir Makam was leaving our party he visited me and said his mother stopped him not to leave “Chudharys” but he said there was great pressure on him, therefore, he would not be able to continue. He wanted a ministry of his choice in the PPP government which in fact he could not get and was annoyed.
Q. Should the government release the Abbottabad Commission Report?
A. No I believe this would be not in the national interest. We have many other important and pressing issues that we need to focus. This report has already created a lot of controversy and it’s better to leave it for some other appropriate time. I being the member of Senate Standing Committee on Defense in its recently held meeting in the Parliament House have also opposed making the report public? When I was invited by the commission to record my statement before it I told the members that our Army might have been informed few hours before the attack so that Pakistan forces might not react. I don’t believe that philosophy that our armed forces did not know anything about the whole episode.
Q. What you think was the fate of Gen Musharraf, would he be released or punished?
A. My personal opinion was that he would be released from the courts and leaves the country. He would not be the punished in any case.
Q. How you see Civil-Military relations, I mean the relations between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and GHQ. Because in his last tenure he had developed serious differences with his own hand-picked Army Chief who later turned against him and removed him unconstitutionally from the power.
A. I wish that there should be good relations between Army and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was very important for the country that both should be on the same wave length as long as national security issues were concerned. Referring to the appointments of New Army Chief and Chief Justice of Pakistan he said every position should be filled on merit and seniority basis. There should not be any favoritism and nepotism. As we have experienced in the past that most of the times favoritism had back fired and led the country to political instability and chaos.
Waheed Hussain is consulting editor of Centreline .