Gilani in bid to break deadlock with PML-N
By Ahmad Hassan
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is trying to break a deadlock created by a sudden change in PML-N chief’s stance on the 18th amendment.
The prime minister went to Lahore on Saturday evening to try to use his contacts in the PML-N to get in touch with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shahbaz or Senator Ishaq Dar, a member of the parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms.
Talking to Dawn on Sunday, the committee’s chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said: “I am optimistic about the outcome of the efforts initiated by the prime minister to break the deadlock. A positive development is likely in a couple of days.”
Senator Rabbani said he had met Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai to seek their support for the success of the committee.
He discussed with the two leaders ways of forging a consensus on renaming the NWFP. Both the leaders have supported ‘Pakhtunkhwa’, the name for the province proposed by the Awami National Party.
PML-N leader Siddiqul Farooq said: “My party is sincerely cooperating in finalising the draft of the 18th amendment without compromising on independence of the judiciary, provided the government side also shows sincerity.”
He said it was up to Prime Minister Gilani to handle the issue after having expressed his readiness to meet Mian Nawaz Sharif.
When asked if there had been contacts between the prime minister and the PML-N leadership, he said: “Everyone has realised the seriousness of the matter.”
The sources said that Mr Gilani had been upset by Law Minister Babar Awan’s ‘premature’ announcement about the convening of a joint session of the two houses of parliament without consulting him.
The move drew an adverse reaction from the PML-N and upset the entire scheme of things, they said.
During a meeting with Senator Rabbani, the sources said, the prime minister expressed regret over the incident and promised that he would try to control the damage by using his influence in the PML-N.
According to the sources, Senator Rabbani who is also an adviser to the prime minister indicated that he would step down if uncertainty persisted over the work being done by his committee.
Meanwhile, a leader of the Pakistan People’s Party said a section in the government was thinking of getting the proposed constitutional reforms bill approved by parliament without PML-N’s support by winning over the PML-Q and its splinter groups.