LAHORE-In what could be described another wise step to save Punjab coalition, following a meeting between PM Gilani and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, the political alliance of PPP and PML-N has decided to go ahead with much awaited expansion in provincial cabinet to accommodate around six more PPP ministers in line with 60:40 power-sharing formula in Punjab. Confirming the development, Senior Minister Raja Riaz and Law Minister Rana Sanaulla told The Nation on Monday that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given a go-ahead signal in this regard, and the decision would take effect by the end of this week. According to sources, Raja Riaz and Rana Sanaulla, who are member of joint reconciliation committee of the two parties had an informal contact on Monday and decided to hold a formal meeting of the said committee in few days to streamline the contentious issues regarding distribution of the cabinet slots in Punjab. Law minister told this scribe that PML-N has asked PPP's parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly and Senior Minister Raja Riaz to submit final list of party MPAs to be inducted in the cabinet. When asked about the reasons behind an extraordinary delay in cabinet expansion, Rana attributed it to prolonged Punjab Assembly session and the Senate polls, but hoped that induction of more PPP ministers in the provincial cabinet will allay the fears of their coalition partner with regard to the power sharing arrangement between the two sides. In this context, law minister said, though there existed no connection between the PML-N and the PPP at the organisational level, but at the government level, he added, "we are in constant contact with the PPP team at the Punjab Assembly". Political circles have termed it another move in the right direction by the two parties after a meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held in Islamabad on Monday. It may be noted that Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and senior PPP leader Qasim Zia had been much critical of the PML-N leadership in the past for not giving their party its due share of power in the province by blocking the way of further expansion in provincial cabinet. Senior Minister, Raja Riaz while talking to The Nation said that coalition partners in Punjab, the PPP and the PML-N, have agreed to expand the provincial cabinet within one week. He said PPP would get six more ministries in the expanded cabinet on the basis of 40:60 power sharing formula agreed between the two parties. In an earlier statement last month, the Senior Punjab Minister had said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has assured that PPP would get 40 per cent share in Punjab cabinet, besides agreeing to give the portfolios of Health and Communication and Works (C&W) to the PPP. It merits mentioning here that PML-N and PPP had been laying their respective claims on the departments of health and education, the two key cabinet slots which had been a bone of contention between the two parties since formation of Punjab cabinet in April 2008. As per the powering sharing agreement between the two coalition partners, 22 portfolios were supposed to be with the N-League, while 13 were specified for the PPP. The important portfolio of Communication and Works department in Punjab is also lying vacant since April 2008 for the last over ten months as both PPP and PML-N have laid their respective claims over control of this key department also. At present, 16-member Punjab cabinet is in place, out of which seven belong to the PPP, though some ministers belonging to the latter are also holding additional charge of some departments. Likewise, six PML-N ministers are also holding additional charge of different departments. The PPP ministers and their portfolios are: Senior Minister and Minister for Irrigation Raja Riaz, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira (finance and P&D), Neelam Jabbar (population welfare), Ashraf Sohna (labour and human resource), Tanveerul Islam (culture, sports and youth affairs) and Haji Ishaq (revenue). Farooq Yousuf Ghurki (IT), but he is eyeing on the portfolio of C&W. Among the PML-N ministers, Agriculture Minister, Ahmed Ali Aulakh, is holding three additional charges of Cooperatives, Livestock and Dairy Development, and Fisheries and Wildlife Departments. Minister Local Government and Community Development Department Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Khosa has been given additional portfolios of Housing and Urban Development, and Environment Departments. Minister Excise and Taxation Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman is holding the additional portfolio of Education Department. Minister Minority Affairs Kamran Michael has been given additional portfolio of Women Development Department. Minister Religious Affairs and Auqaf Haji Ihsan-ud-Din Qureshi has been given the additional charge of Bait-ul-Maal Department. Minister Prisons Ch Abdul Gafoor has been given additional portfolio of Commerce and Investment.