ISLAMABAD: After political tensions rose among ruling coalition partners over the matter of federal budget 2024-25, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday assured Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari of taking steps to address the key ally’s reservations on multiple issues, Geo News reported citing sources. The top leaders of the ruling coalition partners — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PPP — held a key meeting in the federal capital after the latter lodged a token protest during the recent National Assembly session last week in which Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb unveiled budget 2024-25. Bilawal apprised PM Shehbaz about “reservations” on behalf of his party which is the key ally of the incumbent PML-N administration in the Centre. Although the PPP has not become part of the federal cabinet, the party supported the PML-N-led in forming government after the February 8 elections. During the meeting, the insiders said Bilawal voiced his reservations over the federal government’s “non-seriousness” towards different projects in the PPP-led Sindh. They added that the PPP chief complained to the premier about its administration for not taking his party’s confidence in decision-making, including the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and budget proposals. It also emerged that both sides discussed the PPP’s inclusion in the federal cabinet and power-sharing in Punjab during the meeting which was also attended by senior leaders. Bilawal also complained that the ruling party failed to implement the agreement reached with his party, wherein the former supported the latter in the formation of a coalition government, the sources added. Moreover, the PPP chief also accused Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz-led administration of creting hurdles for his party in Punjab, the sources said adding that Premier Shehbaz agreed on most of the concerns raised by Bilawal and formed separate committees to address those complaints. The sources said that the committees will hold more rounds of talks tomorrow to take forward the matters.



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