PML-Q likely to join PPP’s coalition


ISLAMABAD – The power-sharing talks between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) have entered the final phase and the latter may join the coalition government by taking portfolios in the federal cabinet in the second phase of cabinet formation in a few weeks, a government source told Pakistan Today on Friday.
The source said that the PPP had offered 6 to 8 ministries to the PML-Q for the second phase of cabinet formation, which was likely in the current month. “Apart from offering portfolios of federal and state ministers, the PPP has also asked the PML-Q for a long term political alliance aimed at contesting the next Senate and general elections,” said the source.
The source said that the PPP had also offered the position of a senior minister at the centre equivalent to deputy prime minister to the PML-Q. “PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain wants this position for Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi,” said the source. The source said the PPP and PML-Q had almost reached an agreement on seat adjustments for the upcoming Senate elections scheduled for next year and general elections slated for 2013.
“The PPP top brass has offered around six portfolios of federal ministers to the PML-Q. The PML-Q leadership is demanding ministries related to economy, finance and planning,” said the source. The source said further that the PPP central command had also succeeded in bringing in “anti-Chaudhry” leaders such as Ahmed Mukhtar, Nazar Gondal and Qamar Zaman Kaira on board who were previously opposing the PPP-PML-Q alliance.
Another source in the PML-Q said that in exchange for power-sharing, the PPP wanted complete support from the PML-Q, particularly for the government’s economic reforms plan, including the Reformed General Sales Tax. “The Chaudhrys are set to join the coalition government at the centre but opposition from Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, PML-Q parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, is delaying the announcement by the PML-Q,” said the source.
“The Chaudhrys are convincing Hayat and as soon as he gives his nod, the PML-Q will announce that it is joining the coalition government,” the source said, adding that in case the PML-Q joined the ruling alliance, Hayat would not become a member of the federal cabinet though he would not detach himself from the PML-Q either. The source said that the MQM would also rejoin the federal cabinet in the upcoming cabinet extension phase.
“The MQM may get three ministries while the PPP is not ready to accept the MQM’s demand for the Foreign Affairs Ministry portfolio,” said the source, adding that the PPP’s Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali or Makhdoom Shahabuddin might get the portfolio instead. “PPP’s Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Abdul Qadir Patel, Noor Alam Khan can [also] get ministerial berths in the second phase of cabinet formation,” the source added.
The PPP’s efforts to win back estranged coalition partner Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl ended in a fiasco and Fazlur Rehman, the party’s leader, had flatly refused to become part of the coalition government, the source said.