Shah Mahmood Qureshi faces disciplinary action

Monday, February 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Shah Mahmood Qureshi faces “serious disciplinary action”, Pakistan’s ruling PPP said here after the former foreign minister disclosed that the US had “forced” him to confirm diplomatic immunity for Raymond Davis, who shot dead two people in Lahore.

Fauzia Wahab, information secretary of the Pakistan People’s Party, said the former foreign minister has no future in the party. Qureshi developed differences with the party leadership over the change of portfolio last week.

“Serious disciplinary action will be taken against him (Qureshi) for violating the party discipline and humiliating its leadership,” Wahab told Dawn.

Qureshis role as foreign minister had been questionable, she said, adding he did not support President Asif Ali Zardari when he faced criticism in the media over his foreign trips.

Qureshi is facing criticism after he said Saturday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “forced” him to confirm the diplomatic immunity for Davis.

Davis, an official with the US diplomatic mission in Pakistan, was arrested Jan 27 after he shot dead two youths in Lahore. He claimed to have acted on self-defence as the two were trying to rob him.

The incident led to the death of a third Pakistani who came under the vehicle which arrived at the scene to help Davis escape from the spot.

President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Sunday held a meeting to discuss the situation and possible damage control measures after Qureshi’s revelation, which has further strained the relations between the two countries, with the US threatening to withdraw the $1.5 billion aid package promised to Islamabad for the war on terror.

Wahab said that the party leadership had decided to include him in the new cabinet, but Qureshi created a crisis barely 25 minutes before the oath-taking ceremony at the Presidency Friday.

The information secretary said that it was the party leaderships responsibility to assign portfolios and Qureshi was not ready to accept a change in his portfolio.

The presidents spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that Qureshi had held a meeting with Zardari Friday night, but he refused to divulge details of the meeting.

Party sources said that Qureshi was upset by Zardaris move to prevent him from issuing any statement as foreign minister on the Davis issue and instead assign it to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Sources added that Zardari was also unhappy with Qureshi for skipping his meeting with a US Congress delegation last week and the president had admonished Qureshi for this in front of other members during a core committee meeting.

Qureshi was offered the water and power ministry in the downsizing of the cabinet last week but refused.

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