PPP, PML-N close ranks amid 'political threat'
03 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have come closer in recent days following the entry of Dr Tahirul Qadri in the political arena, and both the parties have intensified their informal contacts on the setting up of a caretaker set-up prior to holding of general election.
According to sources in the two major political parties, leaderships of both have one common goal – to hold general elections as per schedule, and are working fast to achieve this. A PPP team comprising of federal ministers Khurshed Shah and Farooq H Naek is constantly holding informal talks with PML-N's Ishaq Dar and Khawaja Asif, with the latter stressing on the former to announce the date for general elections immediately to allay uncertainty being created by some elements, which they have dubbed as spoilers for the democratic system of the country.
A central leader of the PPP also confirmed to our sources that such informal talks have been going on for the last few months. But they gathered pace in recent days in the backdrop of unfolding developments in the country, especially the return of Dr Qadri, who has vowed to launched a million march on Islamabad for electoral reforms before the elections. Both parties are now brainstorming on the caretaker set-up and there is a demand from the PML-N side that the caretaker set-up should be broad-based and incorporate people from different walks of life, irrespective of whether the caretaker prime minister is a political person or not.
The PPP side is expected to announce the name of the caretaker prime minister by the end of January or in early part of February following the formal consultation with National Assembly opposition leader, which is a constitutional requirement under the 20th constitutional amendment. Sources in the PML-N said that this issue has also figured strongly in the meeting of the party held in Raiwind on Wednesday and party cadres agreed to enhance contacts with the ruling PPP.
The sources pointed out that both the parties have come closer because of recent developments, and are about to overcome some issues, like holding of national and provincial assemblies' elections on the same day. The National Assembly is completing its term on March 16. However, the Punjab Assembly will complete its term on April 18, which had created some disputes between the two parties.
The PPP wants the election of national and provincial assemblies on the same day and has advised the PML-N, which is the ruling party in Punjab, to refer the matter to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for settlement.