Qureshi has `no future` in PPP, says party leader

Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said, a US official jailed for killing two men has no diplomatic immunity.

Islamabad: The ruling Pakistan People`s Party has stepped up its tirade against former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for stating that a US official jailed for killing two men has no diplomatic immunity, with a senior leader saying he has "no future" in the party.

Qureshi has "no future" in the PPP and "serious disciplinary action will be taken against him for violating party discipline and humiliating its leadership", PPP spokesperson Fauzia Wahab told a newspaper.

Wahab said Qureshi had "ditched the party leadership and it was not the first time he had done so".

She said Qureshi`s role as foreign minister over the past three years was questionable and that he did not support President Asif Zardari when he faced criticism in the media
over his foreign trips.

Despite all of Qureshi`s "past acts, the party leadership had decided to include him in the new cabinet" but Qureshi created a crisis just 25 minutes before the oath-taking ceremony at the Presidency on Friday, she said.

It is the PPP leadership`s job to assign a responsibility to a party member but Qureshi was not ready to accept a change in his portfolio, she said.

Several senior PPP leaders, including party secretary general Raja Parvez Ashraf and Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan yesterday launched a scathing attack on Qureshi,
who skipped the swearing-in ceremony for Pakistan`s new cabinet last week after he learnt he would not be reallocated the foreign affairs portfolio.

Asked whether Qureshi had differences with the party on the issue of arrested US official Raymond Davis, Wahab said, "If he had a problem over the issue he should have
resigned earlier."

Ashraf compared Qureshi to late PPP leader Farooq Leghari, who had during his tenure as President sacked the government of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto in 1996.

He also accused Qureshi of joining the "band wagon of political actors hatching conspiracies against the party leadership".

Information Minister Awan, considered close to PPP chief Zardari`s camp, said Qureshi had not expressed his concerns when he was Foreign Minister and his remarks about Raymond Davis were "not in favour of the country".

Awan also sought to question why Qureshi had expressed his differences with the government after a court had issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with Benazir Bhutto`s assassination.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar has confirmed to the media that Qureshi met Zardari on Friday night but he refused to divulge details of the meeting.

Babar described it as a routine meeting of a former minister with the President and expressed ignorance about statements by other PPP leaders against Qureshi.

Political observers believe that PPP leaders would not have issued statements against Qureshi without a nod from the party`s top leadership which is unhappy with the former
minister for making public statements on the issue of Davis.

Davis was arrested in Lahore on February 27 after he shot and killed two men he claimed were trying to rob him.

A third Pakistani died when he was hit by a US consulate car rushing to help Davis.

Pakistani leaders have rebuffed several US demands for Davis to be freed, taking relations between the two countries to a new low.

The US has snapped all high-level contacts and put off a trilateral meeting with Pakistan and Afghanistan scheduled for this month over the row.


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