Tuesday April 16, 2024

Hectic lobbying under way for top offices

Maryam said she attributed this honor to the women of Pakistan, acknowledging their pivotal role in the nation’s development

By Ali Raza & Faizan Bangash & News Desk & Rana Ghulam Qadir
February 22, 2024
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz can be seen with his father former PM Nawaz Sharif. — Facebook/ Maryam Nawaz Sharif
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz can be seen with his father former PM Nawaz Sharif. — Facebook/ Maryam Nawaz Sharif

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: A hectic lobbying is on between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party — two of the country’s largest political parties — to clinch the top constitutional offices following their agreement a day ago to form a coalition government after intense negotiations.

In Punjab, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) is all set to form its government with Maryam Nawaz as chief minister after around 218 newly elected parliamentarians expressed their confidence in her leadership in the PMLN parliamentary party meeting held at Jati Umrah.

Party sources claimed a total of 218 members participated in the meeting, which included independent members and PMLN MPAs, while the members nominated for specific seats were also included.

Sources said 137 successful candidates of PMLN, 58 women nominated for specific seats and more than 22 independent members, who joined the PMLN after the elections, were present.

It merits a mention that 186 members were required to form the government.

Addressing the parliamentary meeting, Maryam Nawaz said the party had prepared a comprehensive roadmap for the province’s progress. She also stressed the historic significance of her nomination as the first woman chief minister of Punjab as well as in the country.

Maryam said she attributed this honor to the women of Pakistan, acknowledging their pivotal role in the nation’s development.

“I extend this honor to every mother, sister, daughter, and girl child of Pakistan,” Maryam said and thanked the party leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif and pledged to work under their guidance.

The PMLN chief organizer also reiterated her dedication to upholding the party’s principles and serving the people of Punjab with renewed zeal and announced that the party’s manifesto will be applied in its spirit.

Maryam said she will focus on the key areas including education, health, law and order, agriculture, infrastructure, and information technology across all 297 constituencies of Punjab.

“Each constituency will be empowered to serve as a model of excellence, ensuring equal attention and resources to every district, union council, or division,” Maryam announced and said to achieve this goal she needed the full support of MPAs.

Meanwhile, the PMLN Parliamentary Party also expressed full confidence in the leadership’s decision to nominate Maryam Nawaz as chief minister.

Party sources further claimed that the meeting also agreed on the name of Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman for the Speaker Punjab Assembly, while Zaheer Chanar will be the Deputy Speaker.

Mian Mujtaba has served as the Punjab minister for finance and excise.

Maryam also organized lunch for the candidates.

The parliamentary party meeting also directed all the members of the assembly to stay in Lahore in view of the first session of the Punjab Assembly.

Party sources said the Punjab Assembly was likely to be called on February 23. In the parliamentary party meeting, the members were informed about the provincial assembly session on February 23 if the Election Commission issued the notification of reserved seats by Thursday night.

Party sources said the summary would be sent to the Punjab governor any time after the approval of the caretaker chief minister so that he would call the first session of the assembly.

Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz held meetings with various senior officers of the Punjab government in order to know the administrative affairs of the province.

Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman met with Maryam Nawaz, Finance Secretary Mujahid Sherdal, Secretary Assembly Amir Habib, Secretary Food Muhammad Usman, Secretary Industry Ehsan Bhatta, CEO LWMC Babar Saheb and Secretary Agriculture Nadir Chattha met with Maryam at Jati Umrah.

The secretaries besides congratulating Maryam Nawaz briefed her about the ongoing projects and status of their respective sectors.

Maryam also met with the High Commissioner of Australia in Pakistan Neil Hawkins.

PMLN Central Information Secretary Maryam Aurangzeb also participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the importance of spirit of cooperation and major challenges faced by climate change. Both sides exchanged insights and perspectives on effective strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Sharing their commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, Maryam and Hawkins considered steps to promote an inclusive and enabling environment for women. They also discussed ways to promote girls’ education in a manner that leads to awareness and financial empowerment.

Marriyum denied media reports about PMLN and JUIF meeting against reality.

A consultative meeting was held on Wednesday between the leaders of the two parties, she said, adding that Fazlur Rahman was a great and respected personality for her party.

Political cooperation and mutual respect were established between the two parties, she said and requested the media not to speculate about the meetings.

According to the declaration, the participants especially considering the challenges faced by Balochistan called a strong democratic government in the province as the need of the hour.

The meeting decided that it was in the country’s interest for various political forces to sit together in Balochistan. According to the declaration, the parties wanted cooperation in their parties in this regard.

Meanwhile, the PMLN and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan held a second round of negotiations in which they agreed to continue two-sided cooperation for political, democratic and economic stability in the country, the MQM-P spokesperson said.

A declaration issued by the PMLN said both parties decided to back each other at the federal level after holding consultations.

The MQM-P delegation decided to take its Rabita Committee in confidence on the recent talks with the PMLN before apprising the media about the decisions taken in the second round of dialogues, reports Geo News quoting sources.

In a related development, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has completed consultations to form government in Balochistan.

In a session under the chair of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari, the party mulled over three names for the chief minister, which included Sadiq Imrani, Sanaullah Zehri and Sarfraz Bugti.

The nominated person for the CM’s post will be announced in next 36 hours, the sources added.

Meanwhile, PPP Vice Chairman and former prime minister Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani is going to be the party’s first choice for the post of Senate chairman.

Though the PPP has not announced its decision with regard to its choice for the prestigious office, a source indicated that Gilani will be first choice for the top constitutional post after president.

Gilani was elected as senator from Islamabad in 2021 as a joint candidate of the opposition. He will serve as senator till 2027. If the PPP nominates him for the post of Senate chairman, then Gilani, who was elected from NA-148 Multan in Feb 8 polls, will vacate the National Assembly seat and his younger son is expected to contest the by-election.

Sources said the PPP will take the final decision with regard its choices for the Senate chairman and Punjab governor before the oath-taking of the newly elected National Assembly and provincial assemblies.

According to sources, the names of Salim Mandviwalla, Farooq Naik and Sherry Rehman are also under consideration for the Senate chairman.

PMLN leader Sadar Ayaz Sadiq is also being considered for the NA speaker and Shazia Marri and Nafisa Shah for the deputy speaker.

Names of PMLN leaders Ishaq Dar and Azam Nazir Tarar are being mulled over for the leader of the house in the Senate.

Sources said the names of Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Nadeem Afzal Chan were under consideration for the Punjab governor.

Faisal Karim Kundi is also being considered for the KP governor, while the MQM is likely to get the office of Sindh governor.

The MQM-P is likely to get the ministries of science and technology, ports and shipping and overseas Pakistanis.

A PML-N delegation also met the BAP leadership and after consultation it was agreed that two parties would cooperate with each other on formation of strong governments in center and Balochistan.

BAP President Nawabzada Khalid Hussain Magsi and Senator Sadiq Sanjrani represented their party in the meeting.

The PML-N delegation comprised Senator Ishaq Dar, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Malik Ahmad Khan.

Meanwhile, President of Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) Abdul Aleem Khan during a meeting with PML-N delegation reiterated his party’s support in center and at the provincial level.

JUI-F leader Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri held a meeting with BAP leaders Khalid Magsi and Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and discussed political matters related to the Balochistan province.