The negotiations between Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have seen a wide range of topics discussed, according to various sources privy to the talks.
One of the more interesting topics is when to set up the caretaker government.
Sources in the PML-N told The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani assured opposition parties that he would announce the caretaker set up in May, right after the verification of the voter list would be completed.
Sources in PPP and PML-Q also told The Express Tribune something similar – and took it a step further: They said that the PPP and PML-Q have suggested that the next budget be presented by the caretaker set up. The argument was that an elected political government could not afford to announce a non-peoples friendly budget, which was the need of the hour given the state of Pakistan’s economy. Drastic steps would be required to tackle debt issues and other expenditure cuts – and an interim set up would be perfect to do this.
Sources said that, when this was brought up, opposition parties expressed their reservations, saying that government wanted to pawn off its baggage. Opposition parties have not yet agreed to this proposal – however, they said that all have agreed that this issue would be discussed in May.
Meanwhile, other breakthroughs are said to have been reached during Monday’s talks.
According to sources, it has been decided that the current four members should be awarded five-year terms. However, PPP’s demand of an extension in the tenure of incumbent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza has been rejected and it has been decided to appoint a new consensus CEC.
It has been decided that the removal of the existing members of ECP should be made as difficult as the removal of judges of superior courts – i.e. references have to be sent to the Supreme Judicial Council.
Sources further said that PPP has almost agreed to the PML-N’s proposal that a commission should be formed for the new provinces issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2012.