Pervaiz Elahi to be appointed deputy PM

Pervaz Elahi-1
ISLAMABAD - The long wait for the PML-Q leadership for sharing the responsibilities of the prime minister looks to be over, as President Asif Ali Zardari is making up his mind to appoint Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as deputy prime minister, it is learnt reliably.
A well-placed source told Pakistan Today that the president had discussed the matter with Law Minister Farooq H Naek as well as with Attorney General Irfan Qadir and sought their opinion about the matter.
However, when asked to comment over the information, Chaudhry Shujaat said he could not confirm the development and it was premature to comment. Another senior leader of PML-Q said that this could be done as the same had happened in India and LK Advani had been made deputy prime minister amending the rules of business. He said the party had forwarded its demands to the PPP leadership through the back channel and this could happen soon.
Meanwhile, during the PML-Q parliamentary party meeting, the matter was also discussed and most of the party MPs said Elahi should be made the new prime minister. The source said Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat also criticised Chaudhry Shujaat for extending unconditional support to the PPP nominee for the top slot and said rather than supporting the PPP, Shujaat should have demanded the prime minister’s slot for Pervaiz Elahi.
“The new prime minister would not last more than two months,” said a senior PML leader when asked for comments. On April 29, 2011, the PPP negotiators led by former law minister Dr Babar Awan, had clinched a deal with the Chaudhry brothers, assuring Pervaiz Elahi that he would be appointed the deputy prime minister. However, this never happened and once the PML-Q members joined the federal cabinet, Elahi was told that he would be made senior minister as there was no constitutional provision to appoint a deputy prime minister. “The president has been advised either to amend the rules of business or issue an ordinance to facilitate the appointment of deputy prime minister,” said the source. The source added that a draft was also being finalized to amend rules or the constitution to facilitate the new appointment.
In the backdrop of political situation emerging after the ouster Yousaf Raza Gilani, the PML-Q has again emerged as a game-changer with a strength of 45 members in the National Assembly and any adverse decision by the Q-league may turn the number-weak PPP into minority as the party’s ministers and state ministers had expressed their dissatisfaction to the treatment meted out to them by the ruling party. However, the PML-Q had later suffered a blow when told that besides Elahi, Amin Fahim was already enjoying perks of a senior minister and being junior to him, he was not going to chair the cabinet meeting in absence of prime minister, though this was a basic point in PPP-PML-Q deal.
The source said President Asif Ali Zardari, understanding the critical support of PML-Q in the latest scenario, had decided to fulfill the promise made by him about a year back and had directed his legal team to finalise an ordinance/directive which would soon be issued to remove the legal and constitutional hitches in way of Elahi’s appointment as deputy prime minister. “Consultations are on for the finalisation of a presidential ordinance and its language is being fine tuned,” the source said, adding that Elahi would now take oath as deputy prime minister in the new cabinet.


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