Islamabad, Apr 30: Pakistan's ruling PPP and opposition PML-Q have firmed up their plan to form a “national reconciliation government” in which senior PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi will be appointed Deputy Premier.
The plan was given the final shape during a meeting yesterday between PPP chief and President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-Q head Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Zardari accepted the PML-Q's demand that its leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi be made Deputy Prime Minister, senior PML-Q leader Faisal Saleh Hayat told the media. The draft agreement between the two parties envisages allocation of six ministries to the PML-Q, seat adjustments for next year's election to the Senate or upper house of Parliament and for the general election in 2013. The agreement was worked out by PML-Q leaders and parliamentarian Faryal Talpur, the head of the PPP's women's wing and Zardari's sister.
Legal experts said no Constitutional amendment would be necessary to create the post of Deputy Prime Minister. There is no bar in the Constitution to the creation of the post and it had been done in the past. An appointment could be made through a notification issued by the Prime Minister, they said.
PML-Q leader Hayat, who attended last night's meeting between Zardari and former premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, told the media that the two parties would formally sign an agreement next week.
The two parties discussed several important issues, including a long-term partnership and seat adjustments in the next election, he said.If the draft plan is implemented, the PML-Q is expected to get six ministries - health, trade and commerce, petroleum, industries, agriculture and information technology - and six ministers of state, three advisers to the Prime Minister and the post of Pakistan's representative to the UN.
In a tacit acknowledgement of the move by the PPP and PML-Q to forge an alliance, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said: “The meeting discussed the political situation and realignment of political forces to face new challenges.”
Information Minister Firdos Ashiq Awan told reporters the political situation would clear up in about three days. However, observers said that giving the post of Deputy Prime Minister to the PML-Q could curtail the powers of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The Premier has not been part of the negotiations between the two parties and reports have suggested that he is not in favour of an alliance with the PML-Q. The PPP's core group of leaders and parliamentary committee have given their consent to the alliance and authorised Zardari to finalise the deal with the PML-Q.
PPP and PML-Q leaders are expected to hold another meeting tomorrow to give the final shape to the distribution of ministries between the two parties. PTI