Wednesday June 12, 2024

Horse-trading charges fly in Punjab

Lahore is witnessing a repeat of the Sindh House Islamabad horse-trading, says PTI Chairman Imran Khan

By News Desk & our correspondents
July 21, 2022
Horse-trading charges fly in Punjab

ISLAMABAD: Barbs and allegations kept flying on Wednesday between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) leaders about horse-trading, with demands from the former to send Asif Zardari, Rana Sanaullah and Atta Tarar to jail for indulging in illegal and unconstitutional act of buying loyalties of the Punjab MPAs.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said “today Lahore is witnessing a repeat of the Sindh House Islamabad horse-trading, and Rs500 million are being offered to buy the MPAs”.

He took to his Twitter account to express his concerns over horse-trading for the upcoming election of the Punjab chief minister, and related developments. “The main architect behind this is Asif Zardari, who gets an NRO for his corruption and purchases people with his looted wealth. He should be jailed,” he wrote.

He noted that after the federal government was toppled with stolen money from Sindh and NRO-2 was achieved, a certified criminal Asif Zardari, in cahoots with the Sharif mafia, was now seeking to steal Punjab people’s mandate by attempting to purchase MPAs. “Want to ask honourable SC if they are cognizant of the damage being wreaked,” he said in one of his tweets.

Imran contended that it was not only an attack on “our democracy but also on moral fabric of our society. Had the SC taken action and debarred these turncoats for life, it would have served as a deterrent”.

“Don’t handlers of the government, formed as a result of the US regime-change conspiracy, realise the severe damage being done to the nation,” the PTI chairman wrote. Through a tweet, he said: “Isn’t destruction of our democracy, constitution and nation’s morality a fit case for suo moto action?

[Are] “Neutrals’ not realising how our beloved country is literally being destroyed on all fronts by the imported government, brought in through the US regime-change conspiracy”.

However, Ilyas Chinioti, a PMLN MPA from Chiniot, meanwhile alleged that the PTI and the Q-League offered him Rs100 million in exchange for his loyalty. He was asked to stay in Saudi Arabia after performing Hajj [till the CM election], he claimed. The MPA said in a video clip that he rejected the offer and he was standing with the PMLN and Nawaz Sharif.

Separately, PTI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the Supreme Court was the only institution to ensure transparency and he would submit a petition on Thursday (today), seeking an investigation into buying of the MPAs and demanding the arrest of Asif Ali Zardari, Rana Sanaullah and Atta Tarar for being involved in the horse-trading process.

Addressing a news conference, Fawad said horse-trading had been started ahead of Punjab chief minister’s election on July 22, which is a bad omen for democracy in the country. He alleged that the loyalty of MPAs was being bought for over Rs400 million, each.

Fawad was flanked by party seniors, including Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Usman Dar and Zulfi Bukhari. He said that the people of Punjab expressed their confidence in the PTI, and they had now 188 votes in the Punjab Assembly, predicting that even the count could reach 190, as the court had ordered recounting of votes in Rawalpindi and Muzaffargarh constituencies.

He claimed that the PTI and the PMLQ were conformable in the number game to elect Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the chief minister Punjab with ease. However, he expressed his apprehension that Asif Ali Zardari had ‘transported’ PTI MPA Masood Majeed to Turkey after paying him Rs400 million, alleging that Zardari was using the money looted from Sindh for horse-trading.

He lamented that horse-trading was happening in broad daylight by Zardari, but the ECP was still doing nothing, adding that Atta Tarar was also trying to buy the loyalty of PTI MPAs and he had offered them Rs250 to Rs300 million, each.

Fawad said that Rana Sanaullah had also hinted at creating hurdles for the PTI to form its government in Punjab. Rana had said that five to six MPAs could remain absent on the CM’s election day. He cautioned that democracy could not be strengthened in this way, as the political rivals were asking the PTI MPAs to go abroad. They had booked hotels for them in Dubai and in Turkey, as Zardari and company wanted to cling on to the government in any way.

He said the people of Punjab gave their verdict in favour of the PTI, hence the throne of Lahore was right of the PTI. He said the PTI core committee had nominated Pervaiz Elahi for the CM slot.

However, Punjab Home Minister Attaullah Tarar rejected Fawad Chaudhry’s charges. Addressing a press conference in Lahore, he claimed that PTI MPA Chaudhry Masood had tendered his resignation on April 3, 2022. He also presented Ch Masood’s resignation during the news conference. “He was not happy with the party’s politics. He said in his resignation that there is no justice in the PTI,” added Tarar. “I pray for divine punishment for those telling lies,” Atta Tarar said, referring to Fawad Chaudhry’s charges.

“I swear by Quran no money was given to Masood, but I ask Fawad Chaudhry to do the same if he thinks otherwise. We never said PMLN MPA Jalil Ahmed Sharaqpuri tendered resignation after being bribed.”

He cited the audio clip of Sheikh Rashid too and PMLN MPA Ilyas Chinioti’s claim that he was offered Rs100 million to change loyalty when he was in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. He said, “PMLN was still in contact with Sharaqpuri and the party will take him back if he approaches.”

The minister said “the differences between both parties in Punjab was just of seven MPAs.” Taking a jibe at Fawad Chaudhry, he said that he was not the one who had been changing loyalties over petty issues, adding that he started his politics with the PMLN and would end it with it. “Whoever he (Fawad) is today is because of PPP. He should not be saying bad things about [PPP co-chairman] Zardari. He should not forget his mentors in that party,” he added.

To a question about the PTI approaching Supreme Court, the PMLN leader said that if the court would call them, they would tell how PMLQ’s Moonis Elahi offered money to the PMLN MPAs. He alleged that two people were sent to the house of an elderly female MPA from Faisalabad with bribe money, but her family abused them and sent them back.

He said that anything could happen in politics, surprises could definitely come. He rejected all allegations of PTI and PMLQ and said Shahbaz GiIl had not spent a single day in jail but still he was crying.