Lahore: Former Foreign Minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi may face disciplinary action for refusing the
water and power portfolio in Pakistan`s new cabinet, with a
section of the ruling PPP demanding stern action against him.
Qureshi might face disciplinary action if he does not
clear his position before Pakistan People`s Party co-chairman
President Asif Ali Zardari, a senior PPP leader told on
condition of anonymity.
A section of the PPP`s leadership believes Qureshi
violated party discipline by not accepting the new portfolio
during the swearing-in of the new cabinet on Friday.
Qureshi skipped the ceremony after he learnt that he
would not be given charge of the foreign ministry.
President Zardari had to delay the oath-taking
ceremony for almost 25 minutes after 54-year-old Qureshi
failed to turn up.
Qureshi finally informed the PPP leadership that he
was not interested in the water and power ministry.
The PPP leader said a section of the leadership was
not happy with Qureshi for "violating" party discipline.
He said some leaders had suggested to President
Zardari that the former minister should formally be called to
the presidency to "inquire about his behaviour".
"If Qureshi is allowed to violate the party
discipline, it will not set a good precedent," one of the
leaders was quoted as having said to Zardari.
Members of the old cabinet who were not inducted in
the new one, including Qamar Zaman Kaira and Raja Pervaz
Ashraf, have not publicly expressed their displeasure at the
PPP leadership`s decision.
Another senior PPP leader said Zardari had made up his
mind to give Qureshi a different ministry after his detractors
convinced the President that Qureshi had not "defended him
well on certain occasions".
Citing a recent incident, the PPP leader said Qureshi
skipped a meeting between Zardari and a US congressional
delegation in Islamabad.
The US lawmakers wanted the immediate release of
Raymond Davis, an American official arrested for gunning down
two Pakistanis in Lahore last month.
Zardari had wanted Qureshi, who headed the foreign
ministry in the PPP-led government since March 2008, to be
present at the meeting to "convincingly" put across Pakistan`s
views on the Lahore incident.
"Later when, Zardari asked Qureshi about his absence,
he said he was not invited to the meeting," the PPP leader
34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar has been made Minister
of State for Foreign Affairs in the new cabinet.
There are reports that there will no Foreign Minister
in the two remaining years of the PPP-led government and that
Khar will look after the Foreign Ministry under the
supervision of the Prime Minister.