LAHORE – A disgruntled Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa is expected to renew his loyalty to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in a crucial meeting with party chief Nawaz Sharif on Sunday (today), though unlikely to rejoin as an adviser to the chief minister.
According to sources in the PML-N, Nawaz Sharif, who arrived here from Murree on Saturday, got briefing about the situation and took stock of the demands of the Khosas. The sources said that the previous day’s tirade of Dost Muhammad Khosa, the son of Zulfiqar Khosa, against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his government had not been taken in good spirit by party circles.
Addressing a press conference, Dost Muhammad Khosa wanted the Sharif brothers to visit them, which, the party sources say, had somewhat complicated the efforts for reconciliation and had given an opportunity to the political rivals of the PML-N to cash in on the situation.
However, led by Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, party leaders are in contact with the Khosas, so that their grievances and misperceptions could be addressed. The sources said Khosa senior had not softened his stand to such an extent that he would himself visit the party president.
According to them, from what Khosa junior told the media and the hard line stance he had adopted was lending credence to the suspicions inside the party about his behind-the-scene hobnobbing with the PPP, particularly after the ruling party seemed interested in luring the Khosas into its fold. However, sources privy to the Khosas overruled this possibility and expected a thaw in the tense situation soon. They say, for the time being, Zulfiqar Khosa is not in mood to resume the old job.
PML-N General Secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra told the scribe that not much distance had been covered on the issue. He, however, hoped that the dispute was likely to be resolved after Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Zulfiqar Khosa. He said Zulfiqar Khosa stuck to his guns, but, hopefully, his fury would be subsided and the matter would be sorted out amicably. He said Zulfiqar Khosa was a senior leader of the party who had earned respect from everyone, thus the party will not like to keep him angry for a long time.
The Khosa family has a 28-year association with the PML-N, which has been a common platform of the Khosas to get into the assemblies. No one in the party denies the political weight and significance of this family for the PML-N in southern Punjab, particularly in Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Multan, where their clout had been a major factor in ensuring victory for PML-N’s candidates since 1988.
Zulfiqar Khosa has served as the Punjab governor during the Nawaz Sharif’s tenure besides holding various important portfolios in the Punjab cabinet. Dost Muhammad Khosa served as the Punjab chief minister and of late, he resigned as provincial minster while two other sons of Zulfiqar Khosa are MPAs from the same party.
The respect and position Khosas have earned in the PML-N is unlikely if they join some other party. Considering this, political experts say that both Khosas and the PML-N are inter-dependent and their differences would not last long. However, they add, the gap created by Khosas’ complaints and mistrust in the chief minister and his government will take some time to be bridged.