ISLAMABAD: Three main ruling coalition partners — Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) — on Monday assured the government of their support in taking ‘tough’ decisions, while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is set to call a meeting of all the allies to take a unanimous decision on how to overcome both the political and economic crises in the country.

The PM is also scheduled to head a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday (today) where he will take all the members into confidence on the decisions taken by the PML-N leadership in London recently.

A day after returning from the UK and the UAE, Prime Minister Sharif on Monday started consultations with allied parties in the ruling coalition, apparently to apprise them of the decisions taken by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif during the premier’s recent meetings with him in London.

The prime minister met heads of three main coalition parties — Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM.

Shehbaz meets Fazl, Zardari, Siddiqui; meeting with all coalition partners on crises expected soon; MQM opposes early polls despite them ‘going in party’s favour’

It has been learnt that PM Sharif will soon call a meeting of all the allies in the government to take a unanimous decision on how to overcome both the political and economic crises in the country.

One of the most difficult paths the government is likely to take is the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol and its price is likely to jump by Rs50 per litre. Presently, the government is reportedly bearing over Rs100 billion a month by providing subsidies on petroleum products.

Read more: Miftah says PM Shehbaz not increasing petrol prices

According to the Prime Minister Office, the PM in a one-on-one meeting with Maulana Fazl said national interest will remain supreme while taking ‘difficult’ decisions. He stressed the need for collective efforts of the ruling coalition to provide relief to the people and strengthen democracy in the country.

The prime minister was quoted as saying: “Adherence to democracy and the Constitution guarantee progress and stability of Pakistan.”

He vowed that essential items will be available to people in the market at affordable rates. In this connection, all available resources will be utilised, he added.

Both leaders thoroughly discussed the prevailing economic and political crises confronting the government.

Meanwhile, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who is presently in London with Nawaz Sharif, said on a private TV channel that the government should not be afraid of the situation and take it head-on. “If we do not tackle the acute economic situation today, will angels descend to rescue us,” he questioned.

The PML-N leader maintained Pakistan’s economic situation had not deteriorated to the extent that it could not be reversed.

Meanwhile, PPP senior leader Farhatullah Babar confirmed party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari called on the prime minister after Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari left for the US on an official visit. The foreign minister will meet the UAE leadership during a stopover to offer condolences on the demise of Emirati president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Federal minister Qamar Zaman Kaira of the PPP said his party was ready to jointly face the consequences of “tough” decisions. “We will make decisions in the best interest of the country whatever their political cost will be,” he added.

He said it would be unfair to the country if the government, which came into power to rectify the wrongs of the previous PTI regime, went back home without providing any solution to the problems.

On the other hand, the MQM opposed fresh elections on the grounds that it would be a financial debacle for the ordinary citizens despite the fact that the decision would be in the party’s favour, and urged the prime minister to act fast and take a tough call related to the economic revival.

Talking to the media here on Monday, MQM-Pakistan Convener Siddiqui said it will be in the favour of his party to contest polls as soon as possible because they will recover the 14 National Assembly seats that he claimed had been “snatched” and given to the PTI, however for the common man it would be disastrous.

He said the MQM-P believed if elections were held any moment, the interim government would overburden the general public with difficult decisions as it would not have any affiliation with the masses, which was unfair.

Flanked by fellow party leader and IT Minister Syed Aminul Haq and Syed Shakeel Ahmed, a member of the Rabita Committee, Mr Siddiqui said the economic situation was bleak and it was the responsibility of the politicians to take charge and restore the trust of the masses.

The MQM chief also said apart from stabilising the economy, the government has to initiate electoral reforms before announcing the date for elections.

“This can be done (electoral reforms) in a week, as all the parties have already done their homework, and if they need we can offer our working paper as well,” he said, adding the next elections should not be held without a fresh census and new delimitations.

To a question over granting extension to the army chief, Mr Siddiqui said: “Many things are beyond discussion, but institutions are more important than individuals, and continuity of the system is essential for all entities.”

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

Opinion

The sixth wave

The sixth wave

PCR testing has drastically gone down in Pakistan and our disease surveillance system needs much more strengthening.

Editorial

Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

Negotiating with extremists is tricky; no peace treaty with them has lasted beyond a few months.
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
More ‘prior actions’
Updated 30 Jun, 2022

More ‘prior actions’

It is crucial that the IMF reconsiders its stance and releases the funds at the earliest to calm uneasy markets.
Growing power crisis
30 Jun, 2022

Growing power crisis

THE country’s escalating power crisis risks exacerbating the law-and-order situation as people take to the streets...
Attack on polio team
30 Jun, 2022

Attack on polio team

THE threat of deadly violence never seems to diminish for health workers and police officials involved in...