PPP Out Of Punjab Government: What Now?

Posted on February 25, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Politics
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Adil Najam

Although not at all unexpected, the news is big.

The Pakistan Mulsim Leage (Nawaz) has parted ways with its provincial government coalition ally, the PPP, in the Punjab government. The PPP has accepted the decision (in a graceful and decent, but still hard-hitting, statement from Raza Rabbani, which I hope other politicians in all parties, including his own, should view as a model of what decent but strong political statements sounds like!).

The question, now, is: Now what?

Maybe it is too early to say. Although my hope is nothing much. Let politics and governance go on. This, too, is part of democracy. If both PML(N) and PPP take it as a political change and move on with life and display political maturity in dealing with it, they will both come out looking better than they now do.

I do hope this will not morph into an episode in intrigue and conspiracy. Although I suspect that is exactly what will happen. I am keeping my fingers crossed and praying that I am wrong.

Here are some early details of the PML(N) decision, from Dawn:

Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on Friday announced that his party had decided to remove Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ministers from the Punjab government, DawnNews reported. The notifications of PPP’s provincial ministers will be revoked today, sources told DawnNews. Nawaz further said that the Punjab cabinet will be dissolved and a new cabinet will be formed. Addressing media representatives, Nawaz Sharif said his party always wanted to strengthen the democratic process.

He said his party wanted to rid the country of corruption, unemployment and inflation. Nawaz criticised the record of the Zardari government in the press conference and said the PML-N could no longer partner with the PPP in Punjab. He further said that “in the beginning, we trusted Asif Zardari…however, the Murree declaration between the PPP and the PML-N was never followed up on…similarly our efforts after that to work with the PPP to resolve national problems did not bear fruit,” he said.

Nawaz was speaking to reporters after a majority of PML-N members who attended the party’s meeting on Friday recommended that the alliance with the PPP in Punjab should be broken. The meeting was presided by Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by members from the party’s provincial councils and party council members from Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. At the end of the meeting, Nawaz Sharif said the PML-N believed in developing consensus and making decisions on those grounds.

Friday’s meeting came after detailed talks on Thursday between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Thursday’s meeting was held as media reports intensified, predicting that the PML-N will, in its meeting on Friday, decide to expel the PPP from the coalition government in the Punjab as the first step in an anti-government campaign. The two-hour deliberations, according to insiders, were focussed on the PML-N’s 10-point reforms agenda, the delayed accountability bill, on which the two parties do not see eye to eye and NRO-related issues.

Here is a report on the PPP response, as given by Senator Raza Rabbani, reported by Dawn:

Pakistan People’s Party hit-back at the PML-N after it decided to say good bye to the PPP ministers in the Punjab cabinet. The PPP top leadership held a press conference here on Friday which was attended by Senator Raza Rabbani, Federal Law Minister Babar Awan, former Information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and PPP Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz.

Rabbani said that the 10-point agenda put forth by the PML-N was part of the PPP’s manifesto. ”I want to make it clear that there will be no political instability from today’s act,” said Rabbani, adding the PPP would continue with the policy of reconciliation. ”The federal government is stable. There is no question of midterm elections.” The senator said the national agenda would be carried forward and the ruling party would take all stake holders on board when it comes to matters of national interest.

Babar Awan informed the media that the party leadership has decided to respond after the dissolution of the Punjab cabinet. He said that the PPP would play the role of senior ombudsman in Punjab and termed the day “a doleful day for democracy”. Awan said that at the time of formation of the Punjab government, PPP could have formed its own government but the PPP leadership upheld the CoD. “It is amazing to see that the coalition governments are in tact in all provinces other than Punjab which exposes the attitude adopted by the PML-N towards the CoD,” he remarked.

Criticising the formation of Unification Bloc, the minister said that the group which worked contrary to democratic norms had been given this name. Replying to a question, Awan categorically dispelled the impression that the country is heading towards mid-term elections and maintained that the democratically elected PPP’s government would complete its five-year tenure. Presidential spokesman Farahatullah Babar said that the PPP ministers in Punjab will not resign on their own. He said that the ruling party believes in pursuing reconciliatory politics and its leadership has decided to give an appropriate political response only after the PML-N parted ways with PPP in the Punjab provincial govt.

13 responses to “PPP Out Of Punjab Government: What Now?”

  1. Daud khan says:

    What?… I tell you one Thing, Nothing Changed in our Country.
    Because there are big reasons….

  2. This is all part of the democracy. This is the time where politicians should act more sensibly rather than play point scoring game. The heat will increase day by day and efforts should be made by the politicians to finally look into the real problems of the nation and they should proceeds to overcome them and give relieve to the people of Pakistan.

  3. Yasir Hasan says:

    What now… I think better question would be so what….? :-)

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