ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari will hold a crucial meeting on Wednesday against the backdrop of the tensions between the civilian and military leaderships.
Although leaders of the PML-N and PPP confirmed the meeting between the two arch rivals of the past, they did not specify the agenda and only said they would review the political situation.
The meeting is taking place a day after PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar extended his party’s support to the PML-N government against any “undemocratic adventurism”.
“The two leaders will review the prevailing political situation in the country,” said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Khursheed Ahmed Shah of the PPP. Asked if the controversial Protection of Pakistan Bill was a part of the agenda, he replied in the negative and said the meeting was being held to discuss some other issues of national importance.
Mr Shah said the meeting was taking place on the invitation of Prime Minister Sharif and Mr Zardari would specially fly to Islamabad from Karachi.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar advised the media to avoid speculations and wait till the meeting was over. “I will hold a news conference on Wednesday on issues relating to my ministry. Since the press conference will be held after the meeting between the two leaders, I will also respond to questions about it,” he said.
Sources in the PPP told Dawn that after receiving a request from Mr Sharif for a meeting last week, Mr Zardari held consultations with some of his close aides and agreed to meet the prime minister after getting a green signal from the party.
The two leaders had previously met at the ground-breaking of Thar coal power project in January.
Political experts believe that the meeting would have a far-reaching impact on the future political scenario as the two leaders are expected to jointly express their resolve to defend the democratic set-up against any potential threats.
Sources said some senior members of the two parties would also attend the meeting. The two leaders would formulate a strategy to unite all democratic forces on one platform, they added.
Tensions are high between the civil and military leaderships over the trial of former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf under Article 6, particularly after the recent statements by some federal ministers criticising the army’s political role in the past and response to those by the army chief in his speech during the visit to the SSG Headquarters last week and later by the corps commanders at their meeting.