CHI - Differences have surfaced between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pir Pagara-led Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) after the latters ministers were asked to shed their portfolios to be assigned to members of another coalition ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
Nevertheless, PML-F leaders refused to entertain this request the Sindh chief minister made on Friday.
At a hurriedly called meeting at the Chief Ministers Secretariat, Qaim Ali Shah asked four PML-F provincial ministers and adviser to vacate the portfolios which members of the MQM held before pulling out of the governments in the Centre and Sindh.
But no decision could be taken as PML-Fs Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, Jam Madad Ali Khan, Dr Rafiq Bhanbhan and Imamuddin Shoqeen left the meeting in protest against Qaims request.
Talking to reporters, Imtiaz Shaikh said the chief minister urged them to leave the portfolios of three ministries to hand them over to MQM leaders.
We have refused to vacate the portfolios. This is against the sprit of good governance as well as the governments reconciliatory policy, asserted Shaikh.
He, however, said he would brief the party chief on the situation and whatever decision he takes, they would accept.
According to sources, the PML-F ministers, while giving a strong reaction, lodged a protest in front of Qaims secretariat, terming the relinquishing of the portfolios an insult to their party. It is an injustice and an unfair step, the PML-F ministers were quoted as having said.
The sources, TheNation talked to, said the PML-F ministers conveyed to Qaim that he should have considered all possibilities and options before assigning portfolios to them. This move has also angered other coalition partners, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), added the sources. No official statement was issued from the CMs Secretariat about the meeting that discussed a host of issues.
The PPP-led Sindh government had allotted three portfolios - information technology, youth affairs and auqaf - to the newly-inducted ministers of the PML-F in the provincial cabinet.
Moreover, Pir Pagara asserted if the PPP wanted to peruse its reconciliatory policy it must sacrifice the portfolios being held by its members. The PPP has to decide now whether to keep us in the government, the PML-F chief said in his brief media talk. He came down hard on the ruling party and reacted tersely to the chief ministers decision, saying, No PML-F minister would meet or speak to Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah (over the matter). Now only the prime minister and president would be contacted to know whether they want the PML-F to be its partner in the coalition.