Monday, February 21, 2011

Colleague defended: ‘Qureshi loyal to PPP’

The Express Tribune

BAHAWALPUR: The prime minister was also quick to dismiss the notion that Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the former foreign minister, was quitting the PPP.

“He [Qureshi] is in the party, will be in it and will not do anything against the party,” said the prime minister.

Qureshi resigned from the cabinet as part of its restructuring in accordance with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. However, he was not included in the newly reconstituted cabinet, reportedly under intense pressure from the United States government owing to Qureshi’s refusal to certify diplomatic immunity for Raymond Davis, the American citizen accused of murdering two people in Lahore.

Soon after his resignation, Qureshi began holding political gatherings criticising the performance of the PPP-led administration and appeared to be campaigning for a leadership role, though it remains unclear which office he aspires to. Qureshi is a member of the National Assembly, representing Multan. Prime Minister Gilani and Shah Mehmood Qureshi have historically been rivals, both from leading political families in Multan. The two had been able to work amiably together as cabinet colleagues until the Raymond Davis affair, when Qureshi refused to give in to American pressure to declare that Davis had diplomatic immunity.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2011.

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