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PPP steps up bid to pacify allies

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party continued on Wednesday its desperate attempts to woo the two estranged coalition partners —JUI-F and MQM —back into the government-fold, whereas the PML-N and MQM launched tirades of abuse against each other taking their war of words beyond civility.

PM Gilani talking to Federal Ministers who called on him at PM Secretariat

PM Gilani talking to Federal Ministers who called on him at PM Secretariat.—APP

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani discussed the prevailing political situation with his cabinet colleagues minus MQM and JUI-F. And his party boss President Asif Zardari presided over a similar meeting of PPP’s provincial ministers and MPAs at the Bilawal House in Karachi.

Earlier, President Zardari sent Interior Minister Rehman Malik to the official residence of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to convey his ‘special message’ with a request for a ceasefire.

In the evening, people were stunned to see their national leaders and legislators on TV screens using abusive language and making personal attacks against each other outside the Parliament House.

Mr Malik, who has always been active in political wheeling dealings, rushed to the residence of Maulana Fazl at the Minister’s Enclave in Islamabad for a breakfast meeting hours before the latter’s departure for Saudi Arabia and requested him not to issue statements about the government and the PPP.

According to JUI-F sources, the Maulana reiterated his demand that President Zardari should replace Mr Gilani with another PPP nominee in order to save the present democratic set-up.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a damage control move, Mr Zardari stopped all party members, particularly those belonging to Sindh, from issuing hostile statements against coalition partners.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn that Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza had briefed the president on the law and order situation in Sindh in general and Karachi in particular.

Although Mr Babar declined to divulge details of the briefing, sources were of the opinion that the Sindh home minister must have apprised Mr Zardari of the background of his controversial speech in which he had alleged that the MQM was involved in target killings in Karachi.

Mr Babar said the president had called the interior minister to Karachi for making contacts with the MQM leadership.

He said the president was hopeful that ‘misunderstandings’ between the two parties would be removed soon.

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