The Chaudhris of Gujrat stands divided

The decision of Ch Pervaiz Ilahi to side with former PM Imran Khan and to become CM Punjab with the support of PTI  created rift among the family

As the political polarisation in the country is dividing families and spoiling the friendships and relations, the political families are not immune to this political polarisation. Chaudhary family from Gujrat has become victim of this polarisation and power struggle. The cracks have appeared in the family as younger generation of Chaudhris falling apart due to political differences. The old guard of the family kept the unity for more than six  decades.  But political interests have tear apart the unity and brotherhood in the family.  
Ch Salik Hussain son of Ch Shujaat Hussain took oath as federal minister today in the cabinet of PM Shahbaz Sharif while Ch Moonis Ilahi son of Ch Pervaiz Ilahi made speech in the Lahore rally of PTI in which he criticised PM Shahbaz Sharif  and declared him as a Nautanki PM. 
The decision of Ch Salik Hussain to vote against former PM Imran khan in the vote of no-confidence along side with another senior leader of PML-Q Ch Tariq Bashir Cheema. On the one hand, Ch Salik Hussain and Tariq Bashir Cheema supporting the coalition government of PM Shahbaz Sharif and become federal ministers. 
On the other hand, Ch Pervaiz Ilahi and Ch Moonis Ilahi is supporting PTI and former PM Imran Khan. The son of Ch Wajahat Hussain Hussain Ilahi who is also elected MNA on PML-Q ticket is also siding with Ch Moonis Ilahi.  Ch Pervaiz Ilahi was hoping to elected as CM Punjab with the support of PTI. But the rebellion in PTI and opposition from Tareen group and Aleem Khan group diminished Ch Pervaiz Ilahi's chances of becoming CM Punjab. both rebel groups supported hamza Shahbaz who elected CM Punjab with 197 votes.     
The family of Chaudhris of Gujrat stands divided. The differences within the family emerged when Ch Pervaiz Ilahi unilaterally decided to support the former PM  Imran Khan during the no-confidence motion in return for the position of CM Punjab. Ch Pervaiz Ilahi before joining hands with Imran Khan agreed to become the joint candidate of united opposition.  The PML-N offered the CM ship to Pervaiz Ilahi despite having resentment in the party. Ch Shujaat Hussain assured PPP and PML-N leadership that PML-Q will support the opposition in the no-confidence motion.
 Many people made predictions about the possible split in the Sharif family. Former interior minister Shaikh Rashid many times predicted that Shahbaz Sharif group will emerge within PML-N. But Sharif family still stands united but surprisingly the Chaudhry's of Gujrat stands divided at the moment. It was impossible to imagine the split in the family few years back. But wrong political decisions made by Ch Moonis Ilahi caused rift within the family.       
The Chaudhris of Gujrat considered as one of the most influential political family in Punjab. The rightwing political family from Gujrat also considered as closely linked with establishment. Ch Zahoor Ilahi the father of Ch Shujaat Hussain gained prominence in Pakistani politics in 1960s when he was elected as member National Assembly from Gujrat. He was vocal opposition leader during military  regime of general Ayub Khan. he was staunch opponent of  PPP and oppose the PPP government led by ZA Bhutto Shaheed. He was killed during military regime of General Zia and PPP blamed for that killing. 
Ch Shujaat Hussain emerged as the head of the family after the killing of Ch Zahoor Ilahi. Ch Shujaat Hussain was involved in national politics and younger cousin Ch Pervaiz Ilahi in Punjab. They dominated the Pakistani politics during the General Musharraf's rule. Ch Pervaiz Ilahi was elected CM Punjab in 2002. Ch Shujaat Hussain was president of PML-Q and became PM for couple of months. But since 2008, PML-Q reduced to couple of seats. Many PML-Q stalwarts joined PTI, PPP and PML-N  between 2008 and 2018. PML-Q will further weaken after the split in the family.   
But since the illness of Ch Shujaat Hussain, the Ch Moonis Ilahi becomes the dominating figure in the family. The personal ambitions of Ch Moonis Ilahi caused rift in the family. 
It will be interesting to see that how Chaudhry family of Gujrat will contest elections in their respective constituencies. It will also be interesting to see that whether Ch Tariq Bashir Cheema and Ch Salik Hussain contest next elections on PML-Q platform or prefer to contest on PML-N ticket. It is clear that Ch Pervaiz Ilahi and Ch Moonis Ilahi will contest next elections in an alliance with PTI. 
                                                                                 Khalid Bhatti 

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