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PML-Q minister resigns over ‘interference’

January 19, 2019

LAHORE: A rift in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led Punjab government became obvious after Hafiz Ammar Yasir, the minister for Mines and Minerals, and the only Q-Leaguer in the Usman Buzdar cabinet, resigned in protest against alleged interference in his ministry by the CM Secretariat. “I am resigning because of the constant interference in the affairs of my ministry by Secretary to Chief Minister Dr Raheel Siddiqui, who is another Tauqeer Shah in the making,” said the Hafiz while talking to The News. He was one of the 10 PML-Q MPAs in Punjab, who was inducted into the Punjab cabinet. In Punjab, the PML-Q, with 10 MPAs, is the major ally of the PTI, which if withdraws it support to the provincial government, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will lose the simple majority. The PTI has 179 MPAs in the House and it needs a strength of 186 MPAs to attain simple majority. The news about resignation of Hafiz Ammar Yasir, who was got elected from Chakwal on the PML-Q ticket, came to the surface just a couple of days after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed that it was PTI ‘kindness’ that it was not making a forward bloc in the PML-Q. Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, MNA, and a leader of the PML-Q, through a tweet, had expressed displeasure at the statement and warned that it could sour the relationship between the two allies.

Hafiz Ammar Yasir said that hurdles were being created in his way constantly by the CM Secretariat and he was not being allowed to fulfil his responsibilities as a minister. “If the PTI government suffers any setback in Punjab, the secretary to CM will be responsible for it,” said Hafiz Ammar.

He said he had sent his resignation to his leadership, adding that he would stand by the PML-Q leadership and he was thankful to the Chaudhrys for recommending his name for the ministry.

The News also tried to contact the secretary to CM, Dr Raheel Siddiqui, but he was not available for comment.

Interestingly, Bau Rizwan, another PML-Q MPA, while talking to The News, came up with a stronger allegation against the PTI, saying the Punjab government was conspiring to create a forward bloc in the PML-Q to consolidate its position in Punjab.

Bau Rizwan, who is the senior most MPA of the 10 PML-Q legislators in Punjab after Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and got elected from Sialkot for the third term, said that the Punjab administration had been directed by some influential persons in the government not to entertain any request of the PML-Q MPAs.

He said that neither the DPO nor the senior officials of the government paid any heed to the requests of the PML-Q MPAs and it was all being done to win their loyalties for the PTI, alleged said Rizwan.

The News contacted Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry who stated that the matter related to his statement on the forward bloc had been sorted out. Responding to the accusations, levelled by a PML-Q MPA regarding the conspiracy being hatched by the PTI to form a forward bloc in the Q-League, he said it was not true.