PML-N set to part ways with PPP in Pakistan`s Punjab province

The ruling PML-N is set to part ways with the PPP in Pakistan`s Punjab province as the latter appears reluctant to implement a "reforms agenda".

Updated: Jan 08, 2011, 19:33 PM IST

Lahore: The ruling PML-N is set to part
ways with the PPP in Pakistan`s Punjab province as the latter
appears reluctant to implement a "reforms agenda" that
includes acting against federal ministers accused of
corruption and action on Supreme Court orders.

Reacting to remarks by Pakistan Muslim League-N
leaders that the Pakistan People`s Party would be asked to
leave the ruling coalition in Punjab, senior PPP leader Raja
Riaz said, "We are ready to sit on the opposition benches in
the Punjab Assembly if the PML-N parts ways with us."

Riaz, a Senior Minister in the PML-N-led government in
Punjab, told PTI: "However, we will not fire the first shot."

Though the PPP saved its tottering government at the
centre by wooing the Muttahida Qaumi Movement back into the
federal coalition yesterday, it is facing an uphill task in
retaining its slot as a junior partner in the PML-N-led
alliance in Punjab.

The PPP has also made it clear that it is not making
any effort to forge an alliance with the opposition PML-Q in
Punjab in light of the threats from the PML-N.

PPP leaders believe that the PML-N has started
building pressure on their party as it wants to have a say in
the appointment of a new Governor for Punjab following the
assassination of Salmaan Taseer.

Taseer was gunned down by one of his police guards who
said he was angered by the late Governor`s criticism of the
blasphemy law.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that his
party will push the PPP out of Punjab coalition if it fails to
implement the reforms agenda within a three-day deadline.

In an ultimatum issued on Friday the PML-N has
demanded the removal of ministers allegedly involved in
corruption, setting up of an independent anti-graft commission
and implementation of the Supreme Court`s order for action
against those who benefited from a 2007 graft amnesty.

The federal government has been reluctant to act on
the apex court`s order as PPP chief and President Asif Ali
Zardari is among the beneficiaries of the amnesty.

PPP leaders are of the view that it will not easy for
the PML-N to form an alliance with PML-Q dissidents in Punjab.

"How will the PML-N manage to keep the turncoats in
their fold without giving them ministries? In spite of
pressure from PML-N leaders and support of 50 or so dissidents
of the PML-Q, Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif is not ready to
give away some ministries to them," a PPP senior leader said.

In the 371-member Punjab Assembly, the PML-N has 172
seats, the PPP 108 and the PML-Q 84.
Senior PML-N leader and provincial Law Minister Rana
Sanaullah insisted that his party will not review its decision
to part ways with the PPP if the federal government does not
implement the reforms agenda.