KARACHI, Sept 19: President Asif Ali Zardari paid an unscheduled visit on Wednesday to the residence of former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza in Phase V of Defence Housing Authority.
According to sources, he stayed there for over half-an-hour. Zulfiqar Mirza’s wife, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, son MPA Hasnain Mirza and other immediate family members were also present on the occasion.
No official version was given to the media about the meeting, but the sources said it was a social call by the president to inquire after the wellbeing of Fehmida Mirza, who had recently returned from the US after a medical check-up.
President Zardari’s meeting with Zulfiqar Mirza, an old friend of his who had resigned from the Sindh cabinet after developing sharp differences over policy matters vis-a-vis PPP’s main coalition partner MQM, became a topic of speculation among political analysts.
They interpreted the sudden meeting as more than a social call because of an intensifying tiff between the PPP and Sindhi nationalist parties over the recently promulgated local government ordinance, the SPLGO. The nationalists have launched a phased campaign to force the government to withdraw the ordinance.
The analysts were of the view that after parting ways with the government, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza had gained popularity among Sindhi nationalists and now President Zardari might have asked him to use his good offices to persuade them to negotiate with PPP leaders to sort out their reservations on the ordinance.
The former minister was not available for comments.