PML-N won’t give up 10-point agenda


ISLAMABAD – The PML-N on Wednesday said it would try to persuade the PPP government to implement the 10-point agenda until the last minute of the 45-day timeline.
Briefing reporters after a lengthy session that lasted more than four hours, the heads of the two teams, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and PML-N’s Senator Ishaq Dar said the meeting comprehensively reviewed progress on the 10-point agenda, but another meeting would take place on February 8 to discuss the sub committees’ recommendations.
Clarifying the impression that there was no progress on the issue, Shaikh said they were holding talks seriously, sincerely and with commitment. A majority of the people, he said, were more concerned about free and fair elections and transparent accountability mechanism, on which substantial progress had been made. He said concrete steps on load shedding, restructuring of the electricity sector and loans were under discussion.
Shaikh said the PM had approved boards of directors for PEPCO companies. To a question whether the PPP government was serious in talks, Ishaq Dar said, “I don’t want to preempt what the government will do. We honestly want to move in the right direction and will attempt to do so until the last minute to finalise the agenda.”
Dar said they were attempting to speed up progress on the 10-point agenda, but more work was identified as they were attempting to resolve mega issues. “We have to take difficult decisions and we are attempting to do right.” Dar said the parliamentary committee on the appointment of members of the election commission would be notified within the next two days. After the January 31 meeting, the PML-N leader had said that the parliamentary committee would be notified before the next meeting.
However, Dar said the delay was caused as the government informed that more members were nominated than the limit of 12 members. Dar said they discussed expenditure cuts and austerity measures of the Punjab government, while preliminary discussions on the restructuring of the federal government and Federal Board of Revenue were also held.
A source privy to the meeting said the PPP team demanded more expenditure cuts from the Punjab government to force other provinces to follow suit. The government team was of the view that Punjab was getting more share under the NFC award and it should improve its financial management.
The finance minister-led government team also held talks with the PML-Q leadership on Wednesday. They briefed the party on measures the government had taken to bring the economy on the right track.