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President of PPP for Central Punjab Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo talking to media persons after meeting with PPP Central Punjab leaders. — Photo by INP/File

LAHORE, Dec 23: The Pakistan People’s Party claims that caretaker set-up in the Centre as well as all provinces will be introduced at the same time as negotiations in this respect with all stakeholders are ‘almost complete’.

“There is almost a consensus among the stakeholders that interim governments in the Centre and all the provinces should be installed at the same time,” Punjab PPP President Manzoor Wattoo told a press conference here on Sunday.

The claim negates the impression created by some reports that some provincial governments, particularly of Punjab, are considering completing their tenure instead of dissolving the provincial houses with the completion of the term of National Assembly on March 18.

Media reports have been doing the rounds that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif wishes to rule the province until the last day of his government’s term that is April 18 so that he may watch interests of his party PML-N in the general election likely to be held before April 15, when wheat harvesting season sets in.

The measure will also make the Election Commission to conduct national and provincial assemblies’ polls separately and political parties losing the race for the federal government may use provincial prejudices to make for these losses in the regional polls.

Wattoo, who is also former Punjab chief minister, claimed that all these assertions were misplaced as “negotiations are almost complete among all concerned parties that caretakers will assume charge of their duties at all places simultaneously.”

He, however, admitted that some issues in this respect are currently being thrashed out.

He said so far elections had been held 90 days after dissolution of assemblies while the forthcoming polls would be conducted within 60 days of disbanding the existing houses.

He parried questions about the appointment of PML-F leader Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood as Punjab governor.

The PPP leader had been asked whether PML-F chief Pir Sibghatullah Rashdi was onboard during the process and what its impact would be on the Sindh politics. Wattoo hoped that Mahmood would prove to be an asset for the PPP particularly in south Punjab but declined to elaborate how it would happen without the governor-designate joining the PPP.

About the presence of the party’s ally MQM in the Tahirul Qadri’s show in Lahore, he expected that as the Karachi-based political entity always talked of democracy it would not support anything other than democracy. “As alliances are made on the minimum common agendas parties in the coalition could have different stances on issues not included in the agreed agendas.”