PPP, PML-Q `reach accord` on coalition
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People`s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Q have reached an understanding over distribution of ministries and on the issue of new provinces and they are expected to sign an agreement to form an alliance at the Presidency next week, sources in the two parties told Dawn here on Monday.
If the agreement is implemented, the PML-Q will get five federal ministers, eight ministers of state, three advisers and the ambassador to the UN.
The two parties, the sources claimed, had also agreed to support the demand for Seraiki and Hazara provinces.
However, there was no official confirmation of the agreement because the two parties have decided not to make it public before it is signed.
When contacted, President Asif Ali Zardari`s spokesman Farhatullah Babar did not deny that a PPP-PML-Q meeting would be held next week, but said: “No date has so far been fixed for the meeting.”
Political analysts are of the opinion that the entire Q-League will not go with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and a forward bloc will emerge comprising those members who do not want an alliance with the PPP because of their own political objectives or personal differences with its leadership.
When contacted, former federal minister and a senior Q-League leader Faisal Saleh Hayat said he had no objection to the PPP-PML-Q alliance provided the ruling party gave assurance that it would meet all promises and commitments made with his party. “It will be the win-win situation for the two parties if they make alliance but still we have some concerns over the intentions of the PPP,” he said.
Sources in the PPP said there was some resentment within the party and President Zardari had started a process of consultation with leaders to seek their support for inducting the Q-League into the government in order to secure a comprehensive majority in parliament.
The PPP core committee and parliamentary committee met last week and authorised President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to reach a deal with the PML-Q.
“Both the committees have given a mandate to Prime Minister Gilani to initiate dialogue to forge an alliance with other political parties, including the PML-Q,” a PPP leader said.
The president`s spokesman said: “There is no timeframe for the alliance, but it has been agreed that it should take place soon.”
The PPP required PML-Q`s support for a comprehensive majority in parliament after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F left the government.
Statements coming from the top PML-Q leaders indicated that there are some differences of opinion within the party and efforts were under way to sort them out.
“We have started a consultative process within the party on the offer given to us by the PPP for an alliance,” Q-League chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had said in a TV talk show last week.
Political analysts said that although Faisal Saleh Hayat was the head of the PML-Q parliamentary committee, he could not take any decision against the party line in parliament, especially after the passage of the 18th Amendment under which a parliamentarian could be disqualified if he or she went against the party policy or the decision of the head of the party.
Mr Zardari had invited the Chaudhrys of Gujrat last month to join the federal government and play a `strong` role of opposition in Punjab along with the PPP.