PPP to conditionally back Punjab budget

Despite claims of not being officially part of govt, PPP leader enjoying government office in Lahore

RAMEEZ KHAN June 17, 2024


The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is poised to throw its weight behind the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab in order to keep the political system on an even keel after some quid pro quo, party insiders revealed on Sunday.

Interestingly, while the PPP maintains it is not officially part of the government, the party’s parliamentary leader in Punjab has been spotted using a government office on Club Road, just two buildings away from the chief minister’s office and secretariat.

A PPP office-bearer revealed that the party is currently in a fix over whether to formally join the government. However, the prevailing sentiment within the ranks leans towards formally joining the government, which would open the door to numerous opportunities.

He further said that the budget concerns were merely optics, as it was an open secret that the PPP would ultimately throw its weight behind the PML-N. However, the party will ensure to negotiate some of its terms to show that the PML-N government had to bend to PPP’s demands.

He also acknowledged that their party at the Centre had concerns regarding the PSDP and that increasing taxes on the already heavily taxed salaried class was not among their primary demands.

In Punjab, the PPP is expected to follow the Centre’s lead regardless of their initial demands and objections, as has been the case in the past. The main bone of contention in Punjab is pushing the PML-N to give PPP control over decision-making and transfer postings in areas where PPP candidates have been successful.

He said, despite their official stance, the party’s parliamentary leader in Punjab has already been seen enjoying the perks of a government office at 5 Club Road GOR-1. “How can after using a government office, they claim they are not in the government?” Another PPP leader agreed with the sentiments but disagreed with the notion that their protests were mere theatrics.

He pointed out that this was a civil and democratic way of expressing their dissent, adding that such issues should not be used to destabilise the coalition government and pave the way for undemocratic forces.

PPP leader Hasan Murtaza said that they would support the budget once their demands were fulfilled. In the coming days, all concerns will be resolved amicably, he assured. He highlighted that it was due to PPP’s persistence that salaries for grades under 16 were increased by 25 per cent. He stated that they would compel PML-N to agree to their public-spirited demands. When questioned about how increasing government servants’ salaries would benefit the common man, whose wages have stagnated for years, he replied that they would introduce legislation to mandate annual salary increases by employers in line with government announcements.

Responding to queries about Gillani using an office at 5 Club Road while PPP claims not to be part of the government, he clarified that this office belongs to a deputy secretary assigned to PPP, and Gillani uses it accordingly.


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