ISLAMABAD: The leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) agreed on nominating Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the first deputy prime minister of the country here on Friday night.
The draft agreement, finalised by experts of the two parties, include distribution of ministries, share of the PML-Q in the forthcoming Senate elections and seat adjustment formula between the two parties for the next general elections. Sources said details of the agreement were worked out in a meeting held at the President House with Faryal Talpur in the chair.
The sources said constitutional and legal experts, while giving their opinion, said there was no need of an amendment in the Constitution to create the post of deputy prime minister. While giving the precedent of India, they said the post of deputy prime minister would be created by amending the Rules of Business on the order of the prime minister. In India, LK Advani was made deputy prime minister by the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee through an executive order without making amendment in the constitution.
The sources further said that regular office of the deputy prime minister would be housed in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat while his camp office would be made in the State Guest House, Lahore, where Ch Pervaiz Elahi would be sitting.
The sources further said that the PML-Q neither took interest in the office of governor Punjab nor any conditions came forth. Leadership of the two parties also agreed that the institution of Higher Education Commission, preparation of education curriculum and national narcotics control programme will remain with the Centre.
The sources said that President Zardari accepted the proposal of the Q-League to re-transfer these institutions to the Centre by staying the devolution of the HEC. According to sources, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi held a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting on the dinner table with the president a day earlier. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was not invited to the meeting.
It has also been agreed that the two top Q-leaders will again meet the president tomorrow (Sunday), which will also be attended by the prime minister. This meeting would give a final shape to the distribution of ministries between the two parties, signing of the agreement and oath-taking procedure.
Since the prime minister is scheduled to travel abroad, therefore, leadership of the two parties would hold a signing ceremony prior to the taking of oath by the new ministers.
In the last meeting, the PML-Q had demanded that the job of finalisation of national education policy should be given back to the Centre so as to maintain national solidarity and apprehensions against national unity were put to rest.
The president also agreed to allow the Centre to prepare the narcotics control policy so as to enforce a uniform policy against the prevention of drugs across the four provinces. The president further agreed to create a commission for the creation of Hazara and Seraiki provinces. The commission would decide the issue of distribution of assets and other related issues.
The sources said President Zardari, while speaking on the occasion, said they were establishing personal and family relations by keeping aside politics, which would continue from generation to generation. He said families of both sides had bitter experiences of the past. They would put behind the bitter past and give the new generation the hope of a better life.