Saturday April 20, 2024

PMLN, PPP to meet tomorrow to discuss govt formation

According to a Geo TV report, the PMLN had completed its numbers to form the government in Punjab independently

By Ali Raza & Arshad Dogar & Asim Yasin   & Mushtaq Yusufzai
February 18, 2024
PML-N delagtion meets PPP leaders at Bilawal House in Lahore in this still taken from a video on February 11, 2024. — X/MediaCellPPP
PML-N delagtion meets PPP leaders at Bilawal House in Lahore in this still taken from a video on February 11, 2024. — X/MediaCellPPP

ISLAMABAD: The third round of talks between political coordination committees of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) remained inconclusive on Saturday but they decided to meet again on Monday to further deliberate and finalise recommendations for the formation of the government.

The meeting was attended by Senator Ishaq Dar, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar and Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan from the PMLN, while the PPP delegation consisted of Murad Ali Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Saeed Ghani, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Shuja Khan and Sardar Bahadur Khan Sehar.

According to sources, progress was made on the basis of points on which both the parties had similar views. But the real issue that the PMLN want the PPP also to be a part of the cabinet instead of sticking to constitutional posts, remained unsettled. The PMLN believes that for a stable government, all allies would have to take responsibility.

The committee members agreed that a strong democratic government could guarantee a stable Pakistan. However, according to sources, the PPP also wanted a share in the Punjab government.

Sources said the PPP communicated strong complaints on the past experience of power sharing in the previous 18-month government, while complaints were also made about not giving space to the PPP in Punjab.

According to a Geo TV report, the PMLN had completed its numbers to form the government in Punjab independently, and it did not want participation of any other party. However, the PPP wanted a share in the provincial government affairs, though no ministries in Punjab. Sources said the PPP wanted access to bureaucracy of Punjab and was of the opinion that this way, they would be involved in policymaking and development schemes.

The joint statement issued by the committees said a detailed discussion was held on the proposals given by both sides and a lot of progress was made on the issues. The two sides decided to sit again on Monday for further recommendations to finalise the matters.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan chapter of PPP gave powers to Asif Ali Zardari to negotiate and form the coalition government in Balochistan. Sources said Zardari is already actively pursuing to bring a ‘Jiyala’ as chief minister to lead the PPP-led coalition government in Balochistan. He held a consultative meeting with the newly-elected PPP members of the Balochistan Assembly at the Zardari House in Islamabad on Saturday.

Earlier, on Saturday he was scheduled to visit Quetta for talks for the formation of the PPP-led coalition government in Balochistan but summoned senior leaders of PPP and newly-elected members to Islamabad. The meeting discussed various options for government formation in Balochistan. Zardari told the participants that a PPP ‘Jiyala’ would be appointed as the CM Balochistan as the party had emerged as the majority party with 11 seats in the provincial assembly. According to PPP sources, Sarfraz Bugti has emerged as a strong contender for the CM slot.

Besides PPP, the JUIF also has 11 seats, PMLN has 10 seats, Independents 6, BNP has 4, National Party 3, ANP 2, while BNP, BNP (Awami), Haq Do Tehreek Balochistan and Jamaat-e-Islami have one seat each in the Balochistan Assembly.

According to another related development, the Punjab Police have provided security to PMLN nominee for provincial chief minister Maryam Nawaz. According to the police sources, Maryam had been provided four police squads, a traffic police pilot and two bulletproof vehicles.

The security was provided on the orders of IGP Punjab, while police were deployed at Jati Umra.

Separately, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held successful negotiations with the Pervez Khattak-led PTI-Parliamentarians (PTIP) to form its government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, sources said on Saturday. Legal teams of the two political parties had been holding talks over the last two days to thrash out details of a possible agreement under which the PTI-backed candidates would join the PTIP.

This would enable the PTI to claim its quota of the reserved seats in KP Assembly and form its government in the province. The chairmanship of the PTIP would also be given to the PTI as Pervez Khattak had stepped down as the party chairman and also withdrawn his basic party membership.

PTI founding chairman Imran Khan had authorised party leaders, including Asad Qaiser, Barrister Gohar Ali and others, at a meeting in Adiala Jail to hold negotiations with the PTIP leaders after the PTI-backed independently elected candidates refused to join any other political party. The first round of talks was held with Pervez Khattak, while the second was held with former chief minister Mahmood Khan, the deputy chairman of the PTIP.

Under the agreement, the PTIP would also get its share in the reserved seats and quota in the ministries. Though Mahmood Khan would continue to serve as the deputy chairman of PTIP, other party offices, including chairmanship, would be held by the PTI. The legal teams of both the parties were working on the draft of the agreement, which would be made public soon. This would pave the way for the PTI to form its government in KP and claim its quota of the reserved seats in the provincial assembly.

The PTI-backed candidates won 83 seats of the provincial assembly during the February 8 general election. The two sides agreed to shun politics of confrontation and join hands for uplift and development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some sources said the PTIP might be given the governorship of KP. It is expected that the PTI’s legal team would soon visit Imran Khan to seek his approval for the agreement with the PTIP.

The development has, however, aroused strong criticism from the PTI workers and activists loyal to Imran Khan. “This will be a blunder of the party leadership as both Pervez Khattak, Mahmood Khan and their selfish partners had ditched the party chairman and left him alone in the deep waters to suffer. We can’t forget the language they used against Imran Khan during their election campaign,” said Imranullah Khan, an old PTI activist in Peshawar.