ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to make another attempt to pacify its disgruntled allies by holding a fresh round of talks to remove their reservations over the performance of the government, inflation and non-utilisation of development funds.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) top brass. It was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in his chamber in the Parliament House on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chuadhry Sarwar, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood.
Another meeting was also held in the chamber of PTI’s chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar in which a strategy was devised to appease the “annoyed” Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid in Punjab. It is expected that PML-Q’s demand for including PTI leader Jehangir Tareen in the government’s committee for Punjab will be met and he may become a part of the negotiation process.
“Top brass of our party put their heads together and decided to hold a fresh round of talks with the ruling allies to resolve their grievances,” said Amir Dogar when contacted by Dawn.
He said three committees already formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan would meet coalition partners and the first meeting would be held in Lahore with the PML-Q leadership. The government committee will comprise CM Buzdar, Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar and Shafqat Mahmood, he said, adding that the possibility of including Jehangir Tareen could not be ruled out. “The prime minister has given another assignment to Mr Tareen but he can join the committee as well,” he added.
When asked about main demands of the PML-Q, Mr Dogar said: “Obviously, they [PML-Q leaders] demand a federal ministry and development activities in the districts from where they belong.”
The PTI’s chief whip in the NA said the prime minister had made him a coordinator on Punjab and, therefore, CM Buzdar and Governor Sarwar met him and got detailed reports of PML-Q’s demands and reservations. “I shared with them [the CM and governor] my one-and-a-half years experience and relations with PML-Q in the National Assembly,” he added.
The PTI leader said that meetings with the disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Grand Democratic Alliance, Balochistan National Party and the Balochistan Awami Party would also be held soon.
On the other hand, the PML-Q refused to meet the government unless their demands already accepted by the latter were met.
PML-Q information secretary Kamil Ali Agha said his party would not meet any government committee if the already accepted agreement between the PML-Q and the government was not met.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2020