Pakistan Muslim League-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Wednesday his party had completed a series of consultations on PPP�s offer to join the ruling coalition and it would announce its decision soon. During a brief chat with a group of reporters after a meeting with a three-member delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement headed by Dr Farooq Sattar at the residence of PML-Q parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Faisal Saleh Hayat, he denied reports that his party had presented to the PPP a list of demands including the ministries it wanted. �All talk about ministries having been allotted, flagged cars standing ready and Sherwanis having been stitched is baseless,� he said. Chaudhry Shujaat said he had told President Asif Ali Zardari that he would take a final decision on his offer to join the coalition only after consultations with leaders and workers of his party and this process would definitely take time. Faisal Saleh Hayat, who is considered to be a strong opponent of the PPP-PML-Q alliance, jumped in and said the party had not yet decided even �in principle� to join the government. �We have no intentions to do bargaining. We have never done it and will not do it,� he added. Dr Farooq Sattar said the two parties enjoyed a longstanding relationship and friendship which was above any political alliance. He said the MQM team had come to meet PML-Q leaders to discuss the political situation, particularly the poor economic situation. He avoided saying anything about the move for an alliance between PPP and PML-Q. Senator Babar Ghouri and MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi were other members of the MQM team. Chaudhry Shujaat was assisted by Mr Hayat and Ghous Bux Khan Mehar. This was the second meeting between the two former allies of Gen Musharraf since the formal offer made by the PPP to the Chaudhry brothers to join the government last month. The PML-Q said it had presented a �national agenda� to the PPP and wanted it to invite all parties represented in parliament to work jointly to implement the agenda. A senior PML-Q leader and former leader of opposition in the Senate Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn they had information that the PPP had contacted other parties on his party�s demand and the MQM leaders� meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat was a result of the government move. Mr Agha, who was a member of the PML-Q delegation which met President Zardari last month, said his party had actually given a four-point agenda on core issues being faced by the nation as a condition to become part of �the national government�. He said the PML-Q wanted the PPP to invite all parties to suggest measures and agree on a plan to improve the economic situation, tide over energy crisis, eliminate extremism and resolve issues of price hike and unemployment. �Moreover, all the parties should also decide a timeframe for implementation of the agreed agenda and there should be no party politics during this period,� he added. Mr Agha said that soon after receiving the PPP�s offer the PML-Q leadership had initiated a �brainstorming� process within the party and it was now almost over. He said a meeting of the party�s Central Working Committee would be convened soon to take a final decision. He admitted that there were certain groups in the party which were opposing an alliance with the PPP, but said that such �differences of opinion� were part of democracy. When asked about a statement by presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar that the PPP was just looking for a new coalition partner and there was no truth in reports about the formation of a national government, Mr Agha said perhaps Mr Babar was not aware of the actual situation. He categorically stated that the PML-Q had told President Zardari that it would only join a national government and it had been informed that the president had accepted its proposals. Background interviews with a number of leaders from the two parties reveal that basically it�s the question of getting through the next budget and Senate elections. The PML-Q is the third largest parliamentary group in the National Assembly with 50 MNAs. The reason for the PML-Q to give a serious consideration to the PPP�s offer despite opposition within the party is also said to be the numbers game in the upper house where the PML-Q will be the biggest loser in the next year�s Senate elections when its 20 senators will be retiring. A PML-Q source said the party had been assured by the PPP leadership during behind-the-scene meetings that the two parties could reach an accord for seat adjustment for the Senate elections, if the Chaudhrys decided to join the federal government. At present the PPP-led coalition cannot afford to lose even a single vote in the National Assembly. It has 172 members which is the exact number it requires to carry out a simple legislation in the 342-member lower house.
By: Dawn News