What is clear though that the explosive events of recent weeks did manage to pave way at least for an inter-party discussion on early elections – and hence Premier Gilani’s statement upon his return from Davos, in which he sounded open to the possibility of early elections after the budget.
Apparently, federal minister Khurseed Shah has been tasked to open dialogue with other parties to discuss mechanism for early elections - and a caretaker administration. A central PML-N- leader told this scribe that resignations from assemblies before Senate elections still remained an option. He ruled out any talks on the preservation of the
current system, yet suggested that if any talks at all with PPP, their sole objective would be how to prepare for early elections which his party believes must be held as soon as possible.
Another issue bothering the N-League is the massive use of Benazir Income Support Programme money, which the PPP has now begun throwing at women and youth alike; the N-League it wants the distribution of money under this programme stopped immediately because PPP is continuously expanding the programme with the objective of winning over new voters.
Surprisingly, it seems, both the United Kingdom and the USA as well as the World Bank, view grants under the BISP as stabilization tools and have thus provided several hundred million dollars for distribution ( DFID gave 180 million, World Bank recently gave 50 mil dollars).
Does this mean influential external factors such as the UK, USA, and international finance institutions (IFIs) are likely to support the present coalition into the new elections and would like them to return? They also would not like the boat to sink, one would presume.
Similarly, all coalition partners – PPP, ANP,MQM- and the Q-League – also know they can succeed by sticking together, particularly in view of the possibility of Imran Khan’s PTI chipping off the vote bank of Jamaate Islami, PML-N and PML-Q. Imran Khan’s gain will be the Leagues’ loss but a gain for the PPP as a whole. And this would mean
another comfortable ride into power for the PPP? Well let us see to what extent has Zardari and Co outmaneuvered Nawaz Sharif and others.