Pakistan: PML-Q to join PPP-led government

PPP-led govt is grappling with problems like terrorism, economic meltdown.

Updated: May 02, 2011, 08:34 AM IST

Islamabad: The opposition PML-Q on Sunday decided to join the Pakistan People`s Party-led government, giving a boost to President Asif Ali Zardari`s party that is grappling with problems like terrorism and an economic meltdown.

Following weeks of talks between the two parties, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told the media late in the night that the PML-Q would join the PPP-led government.

The decision was made at a dinner meeting between Zardari and top PML-Q leaders at the presidency, he said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and federal ministers Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Raja Pervez Ashraf also attended the meeting.

"A need was felt that the two parties should cooperate to improve the lot of the poor and to strengthen democracy," Fahim told reporters after the meeting.

PML-Q chief and former premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who is expected to be made deputy prime minister or senior minister, played a key role in the discussions with Zardari on forging the new alliance.

Babar said the two parties had agreed on a formula for forging an alliance.

The two parties will also cooperate in the next general election, he said.

The PML-Q is expected to get six ministries and six ministers of state, three advisers to the Prime Minister and the post of Pakistan`s representative to the UN, political sources said.

The PML-Q has been in the cold since its poor showing in the 2008 polls due to its strong links with former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The PML-Q was formed by Musharraf to give legitimacy to his rule after he came to power in a military coup in 1999. Following the desertion of two key allies - the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement - from the ruling alliance, the PPP has been trying to garner support from the PML-Q so that it has the numbers in Parliament to ensure the passage of the upcoming federal budget.

The PPP is also eyeing an alliance with the PML-Q to strengthen its position for elections to the Senate or upper house of Parliament scheduled for March next year.