LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD - Ahead of the Punjab Chief Minister’s election on Friday (tomorrow), the provincial capital Wednesday remained in the grip of power politics with political players remaining busy in the wheeling and dealing to reduce each other’s numerical strength in Punjab Assembly.

There were allegations and counter allegations of horse-trading all day long. The Opposition and the government also remained busy ensuring protection of their MPAs lodged at different hotels in the city. It was evident from Wednesday’s developments that the history of Chhanga Manga politics of the 1990s has been revived to have control over Punjab by any means possible.

The presence of PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari and top PTI leadership in the city also fueled speculations about the alleged horse-trading by the two sides. The PTI leadership targeted Asif Ali Zardari for his alleged role as the mastermind of the power game in Punjab.

It all started off with the allegations from the PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry who alleged that three of PTI’s MPAs were approached by the PML-N and offered huge sums of money amounting to Rs 400 million for each of them in exchange for changing loyalties. He also got affidavits from the three MPAs to be presented before the Supreme Court on Thursday (Today). Fawad also alleged that a PTI MPA from Rahimyar Kahn Masood Majeed left for Turkey after he received Rs 400 million from Asif Ali Zardari. He also alleged that Atta Tarar was calling PTI MPAs with offers of money to change their loyalties. He said Tarar offered them Rs 200 to 300 million.

 

The PTI MPAs including Ghazanfar Chheena, Shahabuddin, Abdul Haye Dasti and Alamdar Abbas Qureshi have reportedly been approached by the PML-N to buy their votes.

 

Atta Tarar refuted the allegations while addressing a press conference here. He also alleged that PML-Q MNA Moonis Elahi was approaching the PML-N MPAs to purchase their loyalties. To substantiate his allegation, he told the media that Moonis’ front men visited the residence of the son-in-law of a woman MPA of PML-N without prior permission and offered money as a bargain, but they were kicked off from the house.

 

Tarar also alleged that Moonis Elahi tried to purchase another PML-N MPA Maulana Ilyas Chenyoti while he was performing Hajj. He also denied Fawad’s allegation about the PTI MPA Masood Majeed saying the MPA had resigned on April 3. He also showed a copy of Majeed’s resignation to the media.

 

“One resignation has just come, maybe more resignations will follow”, he declared, making loud and clear that the PM-N was working on this agenda. Tarar also said: “When two of our MPAs Jalil Sharqpuri and Faisal Niazi resigned, we did not say they were offered money”.

 

Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan dashed to Lahore on Wednesday to monitor the political developments taking place here. He met senior party leaders and took stock of the current situation.

Govt, Opposition trade allegations of ‘horse-trading in millions’ n Imran claims upto Rs500m being offered to his party’s MPAs n Tarar alleges Moonis Elahi tried to purchase ‘another PML-N MPA Maulana Ilyas Chenyoti’

In a series of tweets, the PTI chairman targeted Asif Ali Zardari for purchasing loyalties of PTI members in collaboration with what he called Sharif mafia. Khan called Zardari the main architect of what is happening and said that he should be in jail. He also demanded of the judiciary to take notice of all this.

 

“Today, Lahore is seeing a repeat of the Sindh House horse trading that happened in Islamabad with upto Rs 50 crores being offered to buy MPAs. The main architect behind this is Asif Zardari who gets NRO for his corruption & purchases people with looted wealth. He should be jailed.

 

“This is not only an attack on our democracy but also on the moral fabric of our society. Had SC taken action & debarred these turncoats for life it would have acted as a deterrent. Don’t Handlers of US regime change conspiracy’s imported govt realise severe damage being done to nation?”

 

“Isn’t destruction of our democracy, Constitution & nation’s morality a fit case for Suo Moto action? Are the “Neutrals” not realising how our beloved country is literally being destroyed on all fronts by the imported govt brought in through US regime change conspiracy?

 

“After Fed govt toppled with stolen money from Sindh & NRO2 achieved, Certified Criminal Asif Zardari in cahoots with Sharif mafia now seeking to steal Punjab ppl’s mandate by trying to purchase MPAs. Want to ask Honourable SC are they not cognisant of the damage being wrecked?”.

 

Only two days before the crucial election of chief minister Punjab that will also decide the fate of federal government, the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday accused the ruling coalition led by PML-N of offering huge money to its MPAs in a bid to win the Punjab chief minister election.

The PTI said that the ruling party was offering huge amounts of money of worth Rs 250 million up to Rs 500 million to its lawmakers to get their loyalties changed — an allegation that ruling PML-N vehemently denied.

The PTI along with its ally Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) is in a comfortable position to win the election of the leader of house in the Punjab Assembly that is set to take place on July 22 after it got a thumping victory in the July 17 by-polls on 20 provincial constituencies.

Later, PTI Vice President and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a press conference alleged Zardari for once again resorting to “dirty practice of horse-trading.” He demanded that Zardari, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and Home Minister Punjab Attaullah Tarar should be arrested for offering up to Rs. 400 million to each MPA to buy his votes.  “We are moving to the Supreme Court (SC), which is the only institution to ensure transparency,” he added. He said that PTI would submit a petition in the SC today (Thursday), demanding that Zardari, Tarar and Rana Sanaullah be arrested and the apex should conduct an immediate inquiry into the matter.