Govt ‘accepts all demands’ to woo PPP

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led government has accepted all demands of its major ally, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The development came in the third round of talks between the negotiating committees of the PML-N and PPP, after the latter expressed concern for not taking it to confidence regarding the federal budget. “The government will prefer the PPP for development funds and appointments on administrative posts in Punjab,” the sources said. Raja Pervez Ashraf, Ali Haider Gillani, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Hassan Murtaza from the PPP participated in the forum. Whereas, PML-N was represented by Punjab Assembly Speaker Ahmed Khan, Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Saad Rafique among others. The sources said the PML-N has accepted PPP’s demands regarding district administrations, appointment of law officers, representation in various boards and authorities, early holding of local bodies election, distribution of development funds equal to PML-N lawmakers. The PPP has demanded appointment of an additional secretary in the chief minister secretariat whose job would be to resolve the issues faced by the party only, they said. The Punjab government would appoint district deputy commissioners, district police officers and revenue officers in consultation with the PPP in the areas where the political party has a significant support, the sources said. Sources said 12 such districts were pointed out including Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi and Rajanpur. The PPP would be consulted in appointment of a district officer in these areas, the sources added. On the other hand, the PPP offered to appoint district officers of PML-N’s choice in Sindh areas despite the ruling party not having a representation there. “The PPP delegation will present a report about all their discussion to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tomorrow and the PML-N delegation will present its report to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif,” they said. They said if they agreed, then a written agreement would be signed following which it would be implemented. PPP-PML-N talksThe development comes after the coalition partners — PPP and PML-N — held committee-level talks to discuss budget issues after the former raised concerns for not taking it to confidence regarding the budget. In a meeting on Friday, the PPP, said the sources, received assurances from the PML-N regarding the redressal of all of their reservations be it pertaining to budget or the Punjab government. The senior leaders of the two parties met in the federal capital after PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto’s meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif where a decision was made to form committees to resolve the matter. Insiders said Bilawal, in the meeting, had voiced his reservations over the federal government’s “non-seriousness” towards different projects in Sindh. During the committee-level talks, PML-N complained about PPP bringing forward its reservations at the time of the budget announcement. “Even during the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, the PPP created an issue out of the flood fund during the budget,” the PML-N leaders said. The PML-N members, as per the sources, said that the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and senior party leaders were taken into confidence on the main points while preparing the budget. “Despite these [briefings], the party protested after the budget was presented. This wasn’t appropriate. Also, the PPP didn’t join the cabinet in Punjab and Centre, despite several invitations.” “Important constitutional positions were also given to the PPP according to its wish,” said sources within the PML-N. However, on the other hand, the PPP complained of not being trusted by the ‘N’ league. “You consider us allies, but you do not take us into confidence. The PPP supported PML-N with regard to all important issues including the election of prime minister and speaker.” During the meeting, the PPP said that they were ready to cooperate but their reservation should be addressed, to which the PML-N agreed.