Pakistan Muslim League-Q

Published 18th April, 2013

The Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) or PML-Q, was originally part of the PML-N (see separate entry). Following the 1997 election, differences between the various factions in the party became more apparent and in 1999 a number of dissidents within the party supported the military coup under the leadership of General Pervez Musharaff.

In 2002 the dissident leaders, notably Mian Mohammad Azhar, Khurshid Kasuri, Syeda Abida Hussain and her husband Syed Fakhar Imam formed a breakaway group. Mian Mohammad Azhar initially led the new faction, but eventually joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The new party was formally launched on 20 July 2002 and leadership passed to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, with the former becoming president of the PML-Q. General Musharaff encouraged the more centrist PML party which was in direct opposition to the more centre- right PML-N.

The PML-Q contested the 2002 elections and won 25.7% of the vote and 126 out of 342 seats. Former Sharif confidante and now PML-Q member, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, became prime minister and there was a corresponding move towards broader free-market principles. In May 2004, various factions merged with the PML-Q to form a united Pakistan Muslim League – the exception being the PML-N. PML-Functional (PML-F) later split from the united group, which left three distinct Pakistan Muslim Leagues; the PML-Q, PML-N, and PML-F.

Jamali resigned in June 2004 and, despite rumoured disagreements between the two, he nominated Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as his successor. Hussain stepped down after two months, in favour of Shaukat Aziz who had needed to win a seat in the National Assembly in order to take office. Aziz remained as prime minister until the end of the government’s term of office, but due to delays in calling an election, Muhammad Mian Soomro acted as caretaker prime minister until the general election took place on 18 February 2008.

Although the PML-Q gained a larger percentage of the vote than the PML-N, they lost a number of seats and were pushed into third place, whilst the latter party formed a coalition government with the Pakistan People’s Party.

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