Editorial : ‘A national - Thursday, April 21, 2011

Only weeks after the size of the federal cabinet was cut from just over 50 to 22 ministers in January this year, the government seems set to inflate it once again, with contacts reported to be on with the PML-Q, the JUI-F and the MQM. Slots still vacant in the cabinet would then go to these groups, with the PML-Q apparently engaged in the most active negotiations at this point with President Asif Ali Zardari. According to reports four slots in the cabinet as full-fledged ministers are being suggested, alongside positions as minister of state and in the provincial setups. A post of deputy prime minister is also said to be under consideration, while overtures are also being made to the PML-N to join what would be a “national government”. The purpose of the exercise, we are told, is to create a wider setup which can deal with the most pressing issues we face. Economic recovery tops the agenda, and this of course is hardly surprising given the failure to extract solid cash from the IMF during the tough talks in Washington. Worsening law and order and the energy crisis are other issues to be put before any new, wider body that can be formed as a result of the latest efforts.

Developing consensus on key issues is always a welcome step. But do we detect here a hint of distinct desperation on the part of the government? Is it now – after making a mess of matters and some two years before the elections are due – keen to share out the blame and save itself from standing alone on the chopping board as voters express what is likely to be anger. There seems to be little other logic in setting up a broader government at this juncture, especially as ties with allies have weakened and whittled away over the past months. The exercise will also bring together parties with widely differing ideologies. Indeed the sight of former arch-enemies – the PPP and the PML-Q – around a common table will, if things happen as is being planned, be rather comical. What is not at all funny is the sums of money that will be spent on a swollen cabinet. The PPP has already faced criticism for setting up one of the largest cabinets in the world; and it is now set to increase the size of government dramatically once more, in an exercise that may not necessarily yield very positive results.

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=42833&Cat=8

No comments:

Post a Comment