PML-Q, PPP finalise deal to join hands: Political source

Top leaders of Pakistan`s opposition party PML-Q have finalised plans to join hands with the ruling PPP to form a "national reconciliation government" during a meeting with President Asif ali Zardari.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2011, 16:16 PM IST

Islamabad: Top leaders of Pakistan`s
opposition party PML-Q have finalised plans to join hands with
the ruling PPP to form a "national reconciliation government"
during a meeting with President Asif ali Zardari, political
sources said on Friday.

PML-Q chief and former premier Chaudhry Shujaat
Hussain and his cousin, former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry
Parvaiz Elahi, met Zardari over dinner at the presidency
yesterday and reportedly finalised a plan for their party to
join the ruling coalition.

The meeting lasted over two hours, sources said.
Over the past few weeks, Pakistan`s political circles
have been abuzz with reports of the beleaguered PPP forging an
alliance with the PML-Q, which has been in the cold 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.
Zardari`s spokesman Farhatullah Babar declined to
confirm the reports that the PPP and PMl-Q had finalised plans
for forming a "national reconciliation government".

Following the desertion of two key allies the Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 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.

An unnamed PML-Q leader told the Dawn newspaper that a
roadmap had been framed under which the PML-Q and MQM would
initially join the government while the JUI would become part
of the alliance at a later stage.

The PPP also agreed on a draft plan presented by the
PML-Q for reviving the crippled economy, improving law and
order, tiding over an energy crisis and curbing inflation and
bringing rising prices under control, media reports said.

An agreement on the plan is likely to be signed in a
meeting to be held at the presidency next week.

Following this, PML-Q lawmakers will formally be
inducted into the government.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani did not attend
yesterday`s meeting and he is reportedly not pleased with the
understanding with the PML-Q, media reports said.
Gilani was not invited to three previous meetings
between Zardari and PML-Q leaders.

Under the draft agreement, the PPP and PML-Q will
work out a seat adjustment accord for the next general
election in 2013, Senate polls to be held in 2012 and polls to
the Punjab assembly.

The PPP core committee and parliamentary committee
last week agreed to the alliance and authorised Zardari and
Gilani to work out a deal with PML-Q.

The News daily reported that the PML-Q is expected to
be offered five federal ministries, seven ministers of state
and one post of advisor with the status of federal minister.

One advisor from the PML-Q will also be inducted in
the provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and
Balochistan.

The government has offered "everything under the sun"
to the PML-Q in exchange for it joining the coalition led by
the PPP, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

"Name what you want and you will get it," the PML-Q
was reportedly told during yesterday`s meeting with Zardari.

"The PPP is desperately seeking a more reliable and
less economically populist coalition partner than the MQM,
as it seeks to pass what is likely to be an unpopular federal
budget in order to comply with the IMF`s requirements," the
Tribune reported.

PTI