Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday telephoned Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and invited him to discuss caretaker set-up to be installed ahead of polls.
The premier has asked Chaudhry Nisar to arrange a meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) representatives to kick-start negotiations for a caretaker set-up and the announcement of general election, sources said.
According to an official handout, though, the premier in his conversation with Chaudhry Nisar expressed the confidence that all issues between the government and the opposition would be resolved in a spirit of understanding. Prime Minister Ashraf assured Nisar of all possible support and cooperation, the handout said.
According to sources, the premier’s telephonic talk with Nisar was very well-timed. The prime minister has sent a message of reconciliation to the main opposition party PML-N.
It was Ashraf’s second visit to Lahore. In his first visit he had invited the opposition to discuss the issue of Chief Election Commissioner which has been solved amicably. This time he has invited the opposition to discuss the caretaker set-up.
According to sources Nisar seconded Ashraf’s stance and said that when he comes back to Islamabad they would together put the matter on track. The two also discussed problems faced by the voters in their constituencies.
The Punjab government gave protocol to Asharf on his arrival to Lahore as its cabinet minister Ch Abdul Ghafoor, IGP Haji Habibul Rehman and Chief Secretary Nasir Khosa along with Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa welcomed him.
Ashraf is having a hectic stay in the Punjab capital, meeting with various delegations. PPP Punjab parliamentary party held an Iftar dinner for him.
PML-Q’s 15-member MPAs delegation discussed with him the issue of power outages and provision of development funds. PML-Q’s delegation demanded Rs300 million for each MPA, but the premier curtly turned down their demands and said that they would get development funds for their constituencies equal to PPP MPAs.
Asharf said power cuts would decrease by September. It is pertinent to mention that the PM has not yet announced any financial package for the constituencies Punjab’s parliamentarians.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.