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PML-N: Coalition with PPP intact

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) said on Sunday it had decided not to force PPP ministers out of the Punjab government, but warned that political crisis was not over yet.

Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz SharifTalking to Dawn, PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had assured Nawaz Sharif that the PPP-led government was ready to implement the opposition’s 10-point “reforms agenda”.

The prime minister called Mr Sharif a day before the expiry of a six-day deadline set by the PML-N to accept its demand or face expulsion of PPP ministers from the Punjab cabinet.

“We welcome the prime minister’s move,” Mr Iqbal said.

“We hope the government will show seriousness in implementing the national agenda which will ensure economic and political stability.”

Although Mr Iqbal agreed that the prime minister for the time being had managed to tide over the political crisis which had gripped his government and the country, he said he believed the crisis was not over yet completely.

“We hope the government will move swiftly; otherwise the situation can become too complicated for the PPP to handle,” he said.

The PML-N spokesman said the party had decided to constitute a three-member committee to be headed by Senator Ishaq Dar to monitor progress on the implementation of the agenda by the government over the next 45 days.

After that, he said, the party would announce its strategy. Mr Iqbal did not say what would be his party’s course of action, if the government failed to meet its commitment.

Answering a question, he said the committee would play an advisory role and it would be available to help the government, if the faced any problem in implementing the agenda or needed any guidance or advice.

The names of the members of the committee, he said, would be announced on Monday.

Mr Iqbal said that the PML-N wanted complete implementation of the agenda because “selective application may not produce desired results”. The government has already met the opposition’s demand to reverse its decision of raising fuel prices.

“The real test of the government begins now,” Mr Iqbal said. The reforms agenda presented by Mr Sharif mostly comprises PML-N’s old demands, including removal of ministers involved in corruption, setting up an independent accountability commission, implementation of the court’s decision on the NRO and reduction in the size of the cabinet.

The PML-N has asked the government to formulate a plan to end the energy crisis which is causing load-shedding of electricity and gas.

The PML-N has also called for removal of the ministers, bureaucrats and heads of various autonomous bodies and corporations allegedly involved in corruption and their replacement with competent and capable people.

The reforms agenda also includes the setting up of an independent accountability commission and reconstitution of the election commission to make it independent.

Besides, the PML-N also wants at least 30 per cent cut in government’s expenditures and steps to ensure a check on the prices of items of daily use to provide relief to the masses.

The PML-N also wants the prime minister to implement the SC’s verdict on the NRO in letter and spirit and a sizeable reduction in the size of the federal cabinet.

The party wants to see behind bars all elements involved in sugar and Agosta submarine scams and a thorough probe into scams in various institutions like National Logistic Cell, Pakistan Steel Mills and Bank of Punjab.

The PML-N has also urged the PPP government to initiate action against those who have got their loans written off and to bring the money back to the national exchequer.

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