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March 29, 2012
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Amir Muqam quits ‘Q’ to join PML-N

March 29, 2012

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PESHAWAR: It took Amir Muqam only some hours to finalise his decision to join the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) on Wednesday after the PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain sacked him late on Tuesday.

The erstwhile PML-Q Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter president met PML-N head Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and informed him of his decision to join the party.The meeting gave an impression as if it was a desperate move by Amir Muqam to secure a place in another party after the dissolution of the party's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter headed byhim. However, the meeting with Nawaz Sharif was set up well before Chaudhry Shujaat's decision as Amir Muqam had made up his mind to quit the PML-Q. Chaudhry Shujaat's decision to remove its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief was apparently an attempt to pre-empt his move and disallow him to walk into the PML-N as PML-Q's provincial president.

Amir Muqam and the PML-N leadership discussed matters relating to his joining the Sharifs-led Muslim League. The meeting ended with Amir Muqam confirming his decision join the PML-N on April 6 in Peshawar. The meeting was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N KP President Pir Sabir Shah, PML-N Central Secretary General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan.

Nawaz Sharif, it was learnt, will travel to Peshawar to welcome Amir Muqam in the party at a press conference. "The meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere and I am satisfied with it," Amir Muqam said when contacted by The News.

Amir Muqam, who comes from Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is a former federal minister, did not give details of the terms on which he joined the PML-N. When he was in talks with the PTI and PML-N, he repeatedly said he would join a new party on his own terms, including taking the post of provincial president.

"In an assuring tone, I was told that I will be given due status and respect," he said and refused to comment further. "I can only say that

I am walking into the PML-N as its worker," he added. "I will work sincerely with Mian Nawaz Sharif and will make every effort to make the PML-N stronger," Amir Muqam said.

The PML-Q suffered a major setback in the province, as Amir Muqam was its linchpin. Another senior leaguer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Salim Saifullah, has already formed the party's Like-Minded group after developing differences with the Chaudhrys. The sacked provincial secretary general of PML-Q, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, has held meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat but it was unclear whether he would stay in the party or go with Amir Muqam into the PML-N.

Mushtaq Ghani has been close to Amir Muqam and used to accompany him in public meetings. He did not receive calls by The News to comment on his political future. Another PML-Q leader, Nighat Orakzai, who is an MPA and has steadfastly defended the party's policies, also did not respond to calls.

Amir Muqam's joining will boost the PML-N in the province as he enjoys goodwill in several districts for carrying out development projects when he was federal minister. He has also the capability to win over lawmakers, both present and former, for his new party and field them in the next general elections. "We welcome him into the party," said Pir Sabir Sabir Shah, PML-N's president for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "The entire party is happy over his joining and we think it will strengthen the PML-N in the province," he added.

Babar Dogar adds from Lahore: Muqam met with Nawaz Sharif at his Raiwind residence and expressed his confidence in the latter's leadership. Insiders claimed that it was the third meeting of Ameer Muqam with Nawaz Sharif at Raiwind within two months. Nevertheless, the Wednesday's meeting proved conclusive when PML-N made public his meeting with its top brass and his joining of the party.

Insiders claimed that Ameer Muqam assured his unconditional support to Nawaz Sharif and demanded no office or portfolio in this regard. PML-N Secretary General Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, talking to The News, termed Muqam's joining of the PML-N an achievement and claimed that they had welcomed him back to the party. He claimed that he had announced his joining the PML-N unconditional. Regarding tentative visit of Nawaz Sharif to Peshawar, he claimed that he was likely to attend the press conference and make announcement of Ameer's joining the PML-N.

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