PPP, PML-N in talks to ensure smooth budget speech
ISLAMABAD, May 22: The Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are holding ‘informal talks’ to ensure a ‘smooth’ budget speech, according to sources in the two parties.
Some senior members of the PPP and a few federal ministers have contacted Leader of Opposition in the Senate, Ishaq Dar, to seek his help in arranging a truce between the two parties, at least for June 1 when the finance minister is expected to deliver the budget speech, if not for the entire session.
The PPP took the initiative in view of PML-N protests against refusal of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to accept its demand to step down because of his conviction by the Supreme Court on contempt charges.
The protests, sloganeering and desk-thumping disrupted National Assembly’s proceedings during the recently concluded session.
According to sources, the PPP leaders decided to approach Mr Dar because he has always taken a moderate stance and acted to defuse a standoff as against Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who takes hardline positions.
The two sides, the sources said, had been discussing various options to reach a face-saving compromise which would let the PML-N avoid the blame of allowing the PPP to have a smooth sailing during presentation of the budget.
The sources in the PPP said the government wanted the PML-N legislators to either remain in the house and listen to the budget or to boycott the proceedings, instead of holding a noisy protest.
The sources said the PPP leaders were ready to make an offer to the PML-N that the prime minister could be asked to attend the session for a brief period and listen to the budget speech in his chamber.
Senator Pervez Rashid of the PML-N confirmed that the PPP leaders had been making ‘informal contacts’ with his party because they were desperate to ensure a smooth budget session.
He, however, said the PML-N would continue its protest in and outside the parliament till the acceptance of its demand for the prime minister’s resignation.