PML-N parts ways with PPP in Pakistan’s Punjab

Friday, February 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif Friday said his party has decided to drop the ministers of coalition partner Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the Punjab provincial government.

The move comes as the federal governmet led by he PPP allegedly failed to implement a 10-point agenda given by the PML-N leadership to curb corruption and improve its image.

The PML-N is in power in Punjab province. After the 2008 elections, both the parties had announced they would support each other.

Sharif’s party accepted cabinet positions in the federal government but resigned soon after developing differences on the issue of restoration of deposed judges.

However, the PPP continued to align with the PML-N in Punjab despite several occasions where its ministers complained of non-cooperation by the PML-N.

“We had sincerely offered our cooperation but I am pained to say that no promise was fulfilled by President (Asif Ali) Zardari,” Sharif said.

“Our burning national issues need immediate attention but the government is least bothered,” he said, adding that “there is no option in such a scenario but to go our own way”.

To a question, he said: “It is not unconstitutional to demand mid-term elections and we can also do so if needed”. “Our law and order, economy and everything else is touching the lowest ebb,” he said.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, reacting to the decision, said that “the country cannot afford such political turmoil at this stage”.

“I request Nawaz Sharif to take a mature stance and re-think the decision to part ways with us,” he said.

Federal Minister for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said: “The PPP will not leave the Punjab government and the PML-N will have to shove us out if it wanted to do so.”

He said the Punjab government was on a collision course with the federal government without any reason.

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