With the rift between Mr.Zardari and Mr.Makhdoom the leader and Deputy Leader of the Pakistan People’s Party respectively widening day by day, Mr.Chaudhary appears to be leading the race for the Premiership of Pakistan.
Mr.Chaudhary owns Pakistan’s largest shoe company and a close friend of Mr.Zardari. His claim to fame was through his defeating of his first name alike rival, Mr.Chaudhary Shujat Hussain, a leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML/Q) who had a stronghold within the Gujjar community. He is otherwise considered by analysts as a political novice but in the present context Mr.Zardari appears to be ruling the roost. This has become evident in the sidelining of such a seasoned leader as Mr.Makhdoom, despite the contrary claims made by him.
When asked as to why Mr.Makhdoom did not attend the Murree meeting, Mr.Zardari had replied that he was invited for the meeting, but, since this was a small event for him and due to his pre-occupation he could not attend the meeting. This has been squarely denied by Mr.Makhdoom who had responded by saying that he was not a ‘guest artist’ and a leader of the Parliamentary Party and the leadership should have ensured that the invitation reaches him. By making this statement, he had reiterated his stand that he was not invited to the meet at all and the balance of truth appears to be in his favor as it has been confirmed by a senior party leader, Mr.Sherry Rehman, that the matter had been handled in a not professional manner. What has to be inferred from this statement is that it is not out of an oversight that he has been left-out, but the action was deliberate. The reason for this, according to authentic reports is that he has been reprimanded for trying to establish contacts with the presidency.
However, the unfolding of the above events do not augur well for the Party. Mr.Makhdoom besides being a seasoned politician has a strong support in the Sindh Province and should he revolt, it would have disastrous consequences for the future of the Party. For the present, he has not adopted a direct confrontation with Mr.Zardari by reaffirming his loyalty to the party, but, this could be a temporary truce.
In the meanwhile, with as many as four names doing the rounds for the post of the Prime minister, there is a widespread of confusion in the party. This confusion has been worst confounded by a report appearing in News that Mr.Zardari had told a group of Parliamentarians from Sindh that he himself would take up the Primeministership after a period of 90 days and the present incumbent who ever he is from Punjab would hold the post for this interregnum period of 90 days only.