The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has shortlisted the names of two senior politicians from Balochistan – Abdul Qadir Baloch and Mehmood Khan Achakzai – for the coveted slot of speaker National Assembly. The party’s high-powered committee will make a final decision today (Wednesday), sources told The Express Tribune.
One of PML-N’s two subcommittees, led by Ayaz Sadiq, will be travelling to Balochistan today, where it will make the decision. The other subcommittee, led by Rana Mashhood, will return to Lahore today after a successful trip to Sindh.
The two committees have been tasked to hold talks with political parties in the two provinces as well as independent lawmakers-elect over the possibility of forming coalition governments either in the Centre or in the provinces.
Ayaz Sadiq and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra will hold final meetings with Baloch nationalists and heads of various political parties, in this regard.
According to sources, PML-N’s choice for NA speaker is linked to its chances at forming a government in Balochistan: If Nawaz’s party awards the portfolio of NA speaker to Achakzai, the PML-N would, in turn, be able to claim the post of chief minister Balochistan, which the party plans to hand to Sardar Sanaullah Khan Zehri.
PML-N’s senior leadership, however, has advised Nawaz to pick Baloch as the speaker considering he is a party loyalist, and to keep Achakzai as the second option.
In the Balochistan Assembly, there are a total of 65 seats – 51 general seats, 11 women seats and three for non-Muslim members. Thirty-three seats are required to form a government.
According to statistics, the PML-N and the PkMAP secured nine seats each while National Party claimed seven, from Balochistan.
While talking with The Express Tribune, Zehri said that with four seats for women and one minority seat, the PML-N has a total of 15 MPAs – the same number as the MPAs in PkMAP. He added that NP is also willing to join their coalition, through which they would easily form a government in Balochistan.
Commenting on the expected portfolio of NA speaker, he said both Baloch and Achakzai have a good reputation.
Achakzai, on the other hand, told The Express Tribune that he was not aware of any such development, and would be able to comment on the matter when he meets PML-N officials.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the PML-N has finalised matters with the PML-F, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and the National Peoples Party and has also struck deals with its own members in Sindh. PML-F’s Pir Pagara will hold a final meeting with Nawaz Sharif within three days in Raiwind. According to details, Pagara’s meeting will be followed by a meeting of other party chiefs in Sindh. All heads will finalise their deals with Nawaz and give him the go-ahead in the Centre.
PML-N’s committee has devised a development package for Sindh, and its allied parties presented a list of their proposed development projects which the PML-N government will have to fulfill. Apart from this, the composition of the federal cabinet, chairmen of various committees in the National Assembly and other portfolios were also discussed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2013.
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