PPP, ANP finalise arrangements
The PPP and ANP on Thursday finalised arrangements for the formation of a coalition government in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, which has been hit hard by the activities of pro-Taliban militants.
The Awami National Party, which draws its support from the ethnic Pashtun community, emerged the largest group in the provincial assembly in the February 18 polls. It is set to form government with the backing of the Pakistan Peoples Party and independent candidates.
Following two days of talks between senior leaders of the two parties, it was announced on Thursday that the ANP would get 12 ministries and the PPP nine.
The speaker will be from the PPP and the deputy speaker from the ANP.
ANP leader Amir Haider Khan Hoti was earlier nominated as the coalition's chief ministerial candidate. There will also be two senior ministers, one each from both parties. The ANP, which will have the home portfolio, has indicated it intends to use dialogue to tackle the problem of militancy in the NWFP.
Observers noted that the commonality of ideology of the ANP and PPP, which are both considered secular, would help the new government tackle the pressing issue of increased militancy in the NWFP, especially in areas bordering the lawless tribal agencies.
Hoti said dialogue is the "only option" for bringing peace to the province and the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas. It has been the ANP's policy to resolve issues through negotiation and dialogue, he pointed out.