PPP-PML(N) hammer out cabinet deal

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Islamabad, Mar 14 (UNI) The Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N have agreed to share berths in the cabinet of ministers and parliamentary committees according to the proportion of their seats in the National Assembly.

Dawn newspaper quoted PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi as saying, after a meeting of his party, the formula for distribution of ministries at the centre and in Punjab had been finalised. PML chief and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif presided over the meeting.

According to the formula, the PPP would have 54 per cent share in the federal cabinet, the PML-N 40 per cent and the Awami National Party six per cent.

Mr Hashmi said the ministries would be allocated after negotiations. He said the heads of the parliamentary committees would also be nominated through mutual understanding under the same formula.

He said opposition members would also be asked to head some parliamentary committees.

Mr Hashmi alleged that the presidency had made as many as 21 attempts to create rift among political parties. It was also creating hurdles in the formation of governments in Punjab and Balochistan.

He said the political parties had foiled all attacks from the Aiwan-i-Sadr or President House with the support of the people.

The PML-N leader said there had been no change in Nawaz Sharif's stand on President Pervez Musharraf, whom his party considers an ''illegal and unconstitutional'', President.

He said lawyers, the media and members of the civil society would be taken into confidence about every decision.

The supremacy of the Constitution and the restoration of judges would be the first priority of the government.

PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said Mr Sharif had taken the party into confidence about his talks with PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari.

He said the PML-N had recognised the PPP's right to nominate a candidate for the prime minister's post, but it had requested that the person should have an ability to implement the Charter of Democracy in letter and spirit. He said the PML-N would fully support the PPP's prime minister.

Mr Hashmi said there could be a confrontation between the new assembly and the Aiwan-i-Sadr if President Musharraf did not respect the will of the people. He said the people wanted the judges, who were sacked with imposition of emergency in the country on November 3, restored because they had been removed unconstitutionally.

Mr Sharif has convened the first meeting of the party's parliamentary group at the Parliament House before the National Assembly session on March 17.

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