Coalition woes: PPP, PML-Q off to a rocky start

Published: May 3, 2011
New ministers unhappy with their portfolios.

New ministers unhappy with their portfolios.


Even as President Asif Ali Zardari swore in 14 members of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) as members of the cabinet, cracks had begun to emerge in the newly formed coalition between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-Q.

Even the legislators who have been allotted ministerial positions seem unhappy with the alliance, calling it a “poor deal”, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Party leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had kept the contours of the deal secret until the very last minute, resulting in several unhappy legislators, many of whom decided to remain in the opposition.

Those that did choose to join the ruling coalition have begun to express reservations, including Faisal Saleh Hiyat, who had left the PPP in 2002, and Amir Muquam, the head of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the party. Both men conveyed strong reservations to the leadership over making a hasty decision and a “pathetic deal”. Most PML-Q members seem to be unhappy with their new cabinet portfolios.

While an official notification on portfolios had yet to be issued as of the filing of this story, sources say that Ghos Bukhsh Mehar will be minister for privatization, Wajahat Hussain minister for overseas Pakistanis, Amir Muquam minister for production, Faisal Saleh Hayat minister for housing and works, Pervez Elahi minister for defence production, Riaz Pirzada minister for minorities and Anwar Ali Cheema minister for health.

A further seven PML-Q members have been inducted as ministers of state and will serve as deputies to each of their party colleagues with full ministerial rank. Pirzada had conveyed to the Chaudhrys that he would not take oath if he would be offered the office of a junior minister. Amir Muquam is also reported to have approached PML-Q general secretary Mushahid Hussain for a “lucrative ministry”.

Neither the PPP nor the PML-Q have explained why no notification of portfolios was issued, despite the oath-taking ceremony on Monday.

The PML-Q is also reported to have backed out of the demand for a deputy prime minister position for Pervaiz Elahi. It is unclear whether he will be given any special powers or even be declared a ceremonial senior minister. PPP sources acknowledged that the PML-Q had made the demand, but said the party had never pledged to honour it.

There are rifts even within the newly appointed ministers. Three of the seven full ministers are directly related to the Chaudhrys, which has caused resentment within the ranks of the party. None of the party’s senators was offered any cabinet slot, which may explain the resentment within the party’s senate bloc.

When the PML-Q was negotiating their deal with the PPP, they told their members that they were demanding important ministries, among them foreign affairs, finance, petroleum, and water and power, besides the office of the deputy prime minister.

The PPP initially offered the office of UN ambassador to Mushahid Hussain but he refused to accept it and was interested in the foreign ministry.

Prime Minister Gilani, who was involved in the negotiations at a very late stage, and objected over the creation of the deputy prime minister post.

PML-Q had claimed that it had put forward a 19-point agenda before the PPP leadership. Joining the cabinet was one of them but the rest of the agenda has not made public.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Tariq
    May 3, 2011 - 7:42PM

    Ali Baba and hte 40 theivesRecommend

  • Sidra Khan
    May 3, 2011 - 8:46PM

    This is outrageous! Instead of explaining to the nation that how come OBL was living in Pakistan mere miles from the Pakistan Military Academy and how could USA breach our sovereignty and execute an operation without the anybody in Pakistan having so much a clue about it, our president chooses to ignore this whole event and its possible repercussion which may even lead to foreign troops landing in our territories! No, No, he man adds more notorious corrupt officials to the cabinet to no avail! All this pathetic government thinks about is saving their power when infact after yesterday they should have all resigned. Zardari, Gillani and Rehman Malik first and foremost!Recommend

  • Aamer
    May 3, 2011 - 8:56PM


    I dont mean to support the PPP here, just want to add two more names to the list. General Kayani and Gen Pasha for their negligence and apathy towards the OBL incident.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    May 3, 2011 - 9:59PM

    Every year in April and November we pay mock homage to Allama Dr Mohammad Iqbal. We
    ask his son to say a few words that has no meaning to our psyche.
    ” Nations are born in the hearts of poets. They prosper and die in the hands of politicians.”
    Between now and the 10th anniversary of 09/11 coming in the next few months what new surprise/s lay waiting for Pakistan could be anybody’s guess.Recommend

  • M Aleem
    May 3, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Sidra and Aamer , USA already has bases in Pakistan it’s not a matter of sovereignty , they are already present! Thanks to musharraf!

    The current army chiefs can’t do anything to them until they directly attack Pakistans armed forces or nuclear program, they are free to kill bomb any house in Pakistan and claim it had terrorist inside, this is all thanks to Musharraf!

    He should be bought back and tried in court. If found guilty he should be sent to the gallows, Recommend

  • M Aleem
    May 3, 2011 - 11:21PM

    Just to add I’m no fan of ppp or pml’s or anyothers, I was a big supporter of Musharraf until he sold us , Recommend

    May 3, 2011 - 11:36PM

    shame on us.we are getting what we deserve.Recommend

  • May 4, 2011 - 8:19PM

    Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) have started the politics of turncoats which is against the norms of democracy. The sheer criticism by PML-N on PPP-PML-Q marriage seems unprecedented. PPP is pursuing policy of reconciliation and it extended this policy to every political party including PML-N itself Now if PPP wants to bring PML-Q in corridors of power why PML-N is behaving like crying baby. PPP is not involved in horse trading or crossing flour like PML-N did while recognizing PML_Q’s unification bloc. It was PML-N who started horse trading in Punjab it was not PPP. PPP applies all the ethics and political norms on other but not on itself. What PPP did is within in constitutional boundaries, there was nothing unconstitutional. PML-N should stop crying and stop the asinine members to mudsling PPP cadre. Recommend

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