LAHORE, May 12: The stage is set for Shahbaz Sharif to become chief minister of Punjab for the fourth time as the PML-N does not seem inclined to try a new face for the top post in its citadel.

Leaders of the party discussed plans for forming governments at the centre and in the provinces at an informal consultative meeting at the Raiwind residence of its chief Nawaz Sharif on Sunday.

A PML-N leader told Dawn that there was a consensus in the meeting that Shahbaz Sharif was the best choice for managing the affairs of Punjab, the party’s stronghold.

He claimed that the party had earlier considered Chaudhry Nisar Ali for the post that was the reason the Leader of Opposition in the last National Assembly had contested for a provincial assembly seat.

But the rising challenge from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had forced the PML-N to change its plan and decide to continue with Shahbaz Sharif as chief minister to fortify its position in the province, he said.

Shahbaz Sharif himself dropped a hint to the effect by calling himself Nokar (servant) of the people in his victory speech on Saturday evening. He had adopted the title of Khadim-i-Ala (chief servant) in his previous stint as chief minister.

The PML-N leader said that they were contacting other parties to explore the possibility of forming governments in other provinces, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the PTI had emerged as the single largest party. But the PML-N appears to be in a position to form a coalition government there if it manages to rope in the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and independents.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called Nawaz Sharif on Sunday and discussed with him the possibility of a coalition in KP. Later the Maulana contacted JI chief Munawwar Hasan, Aftab Sherpao of the Qaumi Watan Party and other likely allies.

Answering a question about the formation of the federal government, the PML-N leader said that although the party was in a position to form the government on its own, it had decided to take along other parties like the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and the PML-Functional.

About the federal cabinet, he said that in the first phase it would be a ‘smart’ one as the number of its members would not cross the double digit.

Chaudhry Nisar, Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Pervaiz Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan and Riaz Pirzada are likely to be taken in the cabinet in the first stage.

About portfolios, he said that Chaudhry Nisar was interested in foreign or interior ministry and Ishaq Dar was likely to become finance minister. Ahsan Iqbal may be given education ministry and Pervaiz Rashid information ministry, he said.

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Comments (13)

Ms.Saiqa, York University, Toronto, Canada
May 13, 2013 4:23 am
Punjab people should be ready to listen new music from old thief.
Elect2013
May 13, 2013 5:18 am
Having shown excellent skills as an administrator, Shahbaz's role should be expanded to run the country. He will be a better interior minister or a Vice PM (or even the PM). The country needs better administrators and better (sorry for re-using the common cliche) governance, than politicians. NS can run the political part while let SN run the administration.
Azam
May 13, 2013 5:20 am
Chaudhry Nisar is a better choice for CM of Punjab. It is time to change the faces and give a fair chance to Ch Nisar. He has many sacrifices for PML (N) than Shabaz. Mian sahib should express some sort of democracy within the party and I think that should start by giving Ch Nisar an option to be the CM of Punjab.
Syed
May 13, 2013 6:05 am
Let the game of plunder begin!
Arif Malik
May 13, 2013 6:17 am
Shame on you Naunahalan e inqulab. even after such shamful defeat you still use same language.... like leader like followers
Arif Malik
May 13, 2013 6:18 am
shame on pti follower
Immad
May 13, 2013 7:23 am
I congratulate you Mr CM. Please this time try to actually be Khadim e Aala Punjab, not Khandim e Aala Lahore.
Asim
May 13, 2013 7:26 am
I am sure you will not be attending Punjab Assembly sessions like last time. I salute you for not considering the sanctity rather making mockery of the legislation assembly.
Ahmed
May 13, 2013 7:29 am
Mr Shahbaz Sharif, will you be making decisions without analysis and consultations like you did in 2008-13 time or you are more democratic now. Lets see.
Asim
May 13, 2013 7:36 am
Welcome to more roads, more parks, more underpasses, more overheads, more plants, more trees, more flowers, more violance, more christian persecution, more out of control police, more without analysis decisions, more rash decisions, more goonish type of governance, more beating of poor backery salesmen, more mismanaged SASTI ROTI, more corruption in Laptops, more property of Sharif family, more industries of Sharif family, more money in accounts of Sharif family.
Imran
May 13, 2013 7:37 am
Never pay any tax. Maujaan e maujaan!!!!!!!!
Well Wisher
May 13, 2013 7:58 am
As a supporter of PML-N, I pray that they should let PTI form the govt in KPK and may also support them in CM election also. I dont say that they join in the govt together but lets respect the 33% (majority) mandate given to them. As far as Punjab and Centre is concerned, I believe Ch Nisar be made Foreign Minister and Shahbaz may keep his portfolio of CM going.
Khan
May 13, 2013 8:00 am
Shahbaz Sharif as CM, Ch Nisar as Interior Minister, and Ishaq Dar as Finance Minister are the best option. Ch Nisar as Foreign Minister? Bad Idea!
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