LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday visited PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at his residence in Lahore to inquire about his health, signalling a thaw in the tense relations between the ruling PTI and one of its main coalition allies.
After being cared for a chest infection, former Premier Shujaat was recently released from the Service Facility.
PM Imran was accompanied by Usman Buzdar, the Punjab Chief Minister, and Shahbaz Gill, the Special Assistant.
Also present on the occasion were other PML-Q officials, including Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, his son MPA Moonis Elahi, Federal Minister of Housing Tariq Bashir Cheema, and MNA Chaudhry Salik Hussain.
The prime minister also spoke privately with Shujaat and Elahi, according to reports, and told them that the reservations of their party would be dealt with.
In recent years, the relationship between the PTI and the PML-Q has soured over the failure of the ruling party to eliminate the concerns of its ally.
The PML-Q not only missed the luncheon held by the prime minister earlier this month, but also accused the governing party of never seeking in the last two years to resolve the concerns of the coalition partner.
Speaking of the decision of his party not to attend the luncheon, Federal Minister Cheema said the PML-Q was there whenever the PTI in the past two years required its votes and assistance, but “unfortunately either the PTI does not want to consult with anyone or it does not consider us worthy of it.”
The minister also told the PTI that in Punjab, the PML-Q was its only coalition ally, but the governing party had shown little interest in resolving its concerns.
A dinner held by the Prime Minister for the Allies in June this year was also skipped by the PML-Q.
As the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s top anti-graft agency, revived 20-year-old investigations against Elahi and Shujaat, accusing them of complicity in money laundering and collecting illicit assets, the PTI-PML-Q relations were further complicated.
Cheema had taken up the matter with the prime minister and told him of the fears of his party over the NAB’s reopening of the old cases.
The Lahore High Court then moved Elahi and Shujaat, also known as Gujrat’s Chaudhry twins, to contest the jurisdiction of the NAB chairman to revive the old case against them.
The anti-graft agency closed the probe against the PML-Q leadership over “lack of evidence” earlier this month.
Another distressing occurrence for the PTI was evidently the telephone conversation of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif with Shujaat and Elahi on Tuesday.
The leaders of the PML-Q condoned his London-based Sharif over the death of his mother, Begum Shamim Akhtar.
For the departed soul, Shujaat and Elahi prayed and remembered her as a caring and affectionate individual. They asked about the welfare of Sharif. His appreciation to the Chaudhry brothers for voicing their condolences was shared by the former premier.