In an effort to form a stable, broad-based government ahead of next year�s Senate elections, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) has begun to woo key political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), for their support. The move, if successful, is likely to strengthen the hand of the government as it confronts head-on some of the more serious challenges that the country currently faces. It is also likely to thin out the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz�s powers and erode some of its political clout in the national arena. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani did not rule out the possibility of either or both the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) rejoining the federal government. The PML-Q, led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, seems reconciled to the idea of a partnership with the PPP, at least for its own political survival. While speaking to journalists after a book launch in Islamabad, the prime minister was not exactly coy about such a possibility when asked if the PML-Q would join the government. �Politics is a day-to-day affair� is how the premier explained the position. Sources in the PML-Q and MQM confirmed to The Express Tribunethat their negotiations with the PPP have made some headway in the last few days. The JUI-F, on the other hand, ruled out the possibility of rejoining the government, though the party�s leaders confirmed that the PPP was in contact with them. Chaudhry Shujaat and his close associates discussed the modalities of the PML-Q�s possible alliance with the PPP during a meeting on Tuesday. The party�s lawmakers are likely to finalise the matter when they meet on Thursday. The same day, the PPP�s core committee will convene to flesh out details of the alliance. Not everyone in the PML-Q camp supports the proposed alliance with the ruling party. A PML-Q group, led by Faisal Saleh Hayat, is fiercely opposed to Hussain�s manoeuvring for an alliance with the PPP, sources in the PML-Q told The Express Tribune. The Hayat-led group includes Marvi Memon, newly elected MNA Awais Leghari, his brother Senator Jamal Leghari and Senator Tariq Azim. The government has already removed FIA official Zafar Qureshi from a team investigating the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam which involves Moonis Elahi, son of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. This was one of the key demands of the PML-Q. But the PML-Q�s wish-list also includes half a dozen ministries in the federal cabinet and some assurances on politics in Punjab where it is facing serious threats from the PML-N. The PML-Q also covets the prized post of governor in Punjab and wants lawmakers in a breakaway faction in the provincial assembly, otherwise known the �unification bloc�, to be disqualified. It also wants an assurance that if the alliance materialises it should be broad-based which means the PML-Q would also be accommodated in the Senate elections and seats in the next elections. However, some PML-Q leaders do not trust the PPP as they fear it would desert them after the Senate elections. On another front, President Asif Ali Zardari has sent Sena�tor Dr Asim Hussain to London to meet MQM chief Altaf Hussain. The move came after Interior Minister Rehman Malik failed to convince the MQM to rejoin the government. President Zardari is likely to administer oath today to Maula Bakhsh Chandio who has been made minister for law in place of Babar Awan. The government has planned expansion in the cabinet in two phases. In the first phase, it wants to induct some PPP members in the cabinet while in the second phase its potential allies would be accommodated. Information and Broad�casting Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Tuesday that the cabinet expansion would be made according to the constitution. �The PPP government believes in the politics of reconciliation and will take on board all political forces on national issues,� she told the media outside parliament.
BY: The Express Tribune