LAHORE: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to use the 15-day period afforded by the law requiring the governor for approving the summary to remove PPP ministers to “expose Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s politics of turncoats before the national audience,” sources in the party told The Express Tribune on Sunday.
A party office-bearer said that Governor Punjab Latif Khosa would not sign the summary until the very last day. They said that the PPP “knows that although the governor has no legal power to reject the summary, he can hold the summary for two weeks, after which period it would assume to have been approved automatically”.
During the two weeks, he said, PPP’s federal ministers would visit Punjab and other provinces in a bid to improve the PPP’s public image.
On Sunday, Governor Latif Khosa said that he has not yet dealt with the summary sent by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He said that he would act in accordance with the law.
A handout quoted the governor as saying that the PPP “will not destabilise the Punjab government, but if anyone takes any illegal step, he will perform his constitutional role,” adding that he would not allow the politics of turncoats in the province.
Taking pride in calling himself the first Ghazi of the lawyers’ movement who shed blood for the restoration of the judiciary, he said that the PPP’s policy of reconciliation should not be construed as weakness.
Reminding that the law dealing with floor-crossing was Article 63-A of the Constitution, he said that as a lawyer and a governor, he could better perform his constitutional role to deal with such adventurism.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said he was surprised why the governor was taking so much time to approve the summary for removing the PPP ministers from the provincial cabinet.
He said that the delaying tactics being used by the Governor House was “creating doubts”.
“If this is not a conspiracy for creating a crisis, then what is hindering PPP ministers to leave their ministries?” he said.
Also on Sunday, federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan addressed a press conference at the Lahore Press Club and criticised the PML-N leadership for making public statements in support of what he described as the turncoats.
He said that Nawaz Sharif’s statement that they “have rejoined their parent party was enough to disqualify the turncoats”. He said that the PML-N was paying a “very high price for securing the loyalties of turncoats”, adding that the chief minister was emptying the provincial coffers to appease them.
The PPP, he said, could have formed government in Punjab with the support of independent lawmakers, but it had respected the public mandate and supported the PML-N.
Awan said the PPP-led government had honoured the 18th constitutional amendment when the PML-N presented its 10-point agenda, but then the PML-N went to “Chhanga Manga, ruining the 18th amendment.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2011.