LAHORE  -  Making announcement to part ways with the PML-N, former provincial minister and Sharifs’ close aide Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor said yesterday that he will ‘expose’ all land grabbers and corrupt hidden in the party ranks.

The revolt of Ch Abdul Ghafoor Meo who served as minister for prisons during Shehbaz Sharif’s first complete tenure (2008-13) came two days after Zaeem Qadri’s rebellion against party leadership and announcement to contest polls as an independent candidate against Hamza Shehbaz from Lahore.

Ch Ghafoor, whose residence is nearly half kilometre away from Sharif House in Jati Umra Raiwind, alleged during a press conference at Lahore Press Club that every member of the Sharif family had a connection with former president Musharraf and held meetings with former military ruler on different occasions. He said he will soon expose who met Musharraf and when and where these meetings were held.

He said he was neither participating in polls and nor was an aspirant of PML-N ticket but will go to every constituency of Lahore to expose politics of Sharifs and their allies ‘involved in land grabbing and corruption and awarded tickets in exchange of millions of rupees to Hamza and other bigwigs of party.’

Insider say Ch Ghafoor was an aspirant of PML-N ticket from his home constituency NA-136 but went against the party when Malk Afzal Khokhar was given ticket from the same area. He had opposed the ticket to Malk Afzal in 2013 too.

But, during the presser Ch Ghafoor negated all such reports and claimed that he was neither an election candidate this time and nor filed any nomination paper with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to contest polls.

“Yes! I applied for PML-N tickets and appeared before parliamentary board just to fulfil the formality. I openly spoke against leadership decisions during the parliamentary board meeting [held in Sharif House Jati Umra few days back to award party tickets].

“I did not request for party tickets during the meeting,” he said, and asserted that his claim could be checked through video recording of the meeting available with the party office. 

“I was not at all an aspirant of PML-N ticket. I wanted to quit party when Punjab government played massacre in Model Town [a reference he gave to incident held in June 17, 2014 when 14 PAT workers were killed in a clash with police].

“How I could remain part of the party which martyred Mumtaz Qadri [the killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer who was hanged in Feb 2016]

“I can’t sit with the leaders who introduced changes in law on the finality of prophet-hood,” said the angry politician.

Ch Ghafoor was also not awarded tickets during 2013 elections and was given responsibility to run election campaign for the then party president Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and Sargodha’s two NA constituencies. Later, he was appointed Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation’s Managing Director—a lucrative post he was still enjoying and considered a reward against his services for the Sharif family.

To a question, he replied that he will not resign as PTDC MD, saying the post did not belong to anybody’s father. “I consider the post as an opportunity to develop tourism sector of the country and I will continue serving Pakistan through the platform. I’m also not retiring from politics,” he announced.

He claimed the PML-N destroyed institutions during its rule over country.

He said that PML-N was sending corrupt individuals and land grabbers in the parliament and there was a need to stop this practice.

“We need to stop those forming friendship with Modi. A friend of Modi was once our prime minister as well,” he said taking a direct jibe at deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“Zaeem Qadri said Lahore is not the property of anyone. I’m saying that Pakistan doesn’t belong to anyone except its people,” he said, referring to the PML-N leader who left the party and lashed out at Hamza Shehbaz during a presser on Thursday. He also questioned that how leaders like Daniyal Aziz, Talal Chaudhry and Marvi Memon gained prominence in PML-N in such a short span of time.

Meanwhile, Ch Ghafoor’s younger brother Ch Abdul Shakoor held a press conference just two hours after the ‘rebellion’ of his elder brother against PML-N. In his presser, he defended the party leadership and Sharif family and termed all allegations of Ch Ghafoor a pack of lies. He said his family and clan, Meo, was highly indebted to Sharifs and could not even think to go against PML-N leadership in this hour of distress. He said his brother’s allegations hurt him and all Meo clan.

It is worth mentioning that a large number of families of Meo clan, the Indian migrated Muslim Rajputs, settled in surroundings of Lahore especially in Raiwind after 1947 play an important role in constituency politics of the area.

Ch Shakoor said Meo will give vote to PML-N candidates in the elections like they did in every polls.

 

IFTIKHAR ALAM