Islamabad, Mar.2 : A national consensus government involving the Musharraf-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) appears to be in the making in Pakistan's Punjab province, if the results of the over two-hour long talks between PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML (Q) leader Hamid Nasir Chattha on Saturday are anything to go by.
The Daily Times quoted sources privy to the meeting as saying that a thaw in relations between the two parties is in the offing. "The PPP is keeping all its options open. However, it is difficult to say at this time whether it will take the PML-Q on board," the sources added.
Saturday's meeting is being considered as significant in view of a possible coalition government of the PPP, the PML-Q, the PML-F, the JUI-F and some independents.
"This combination can easily yield a simple majority in the Punjab Assembly to form a government headed by Hamid Nasir Chattha. The nomination of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as PML-Q Parliamentary leader in the National Assembly is probably part of this plan," the paper quoted sources, as saying.
The PPP has 80 general seats in the Punjab Assembly to PML-Q's 68 and PML-F's three. These parties will also be allocated seats reserved for women and minorities on the basis of their representation in the House.
The PPP is expected to get 18 female seats and two minority seats. Similarly, the PML-Q is expected to get 15 female seats and one minority seat. This would give the PML-Q and the PPP a combined total of 184 seats. A coalition with the PML-F would give the possible coalition 187 seats. A total of 186 members are required to form government in the Punjab.
Meanwhile, the family of prime ministerial aspirant Makhdoom Amin Fahim may get the seat of chief minister of Sindh if Fahim is not made the next prime minister,
But PPP leader Sajjad Bukhari said Fahim still topped the list of candidates for prime minister. He said some party members thought the prime minister should be from Punjab where the party is not as strong.