ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto this evening [Dec 5] had a 40-minute informal chat with the Jamiat Ulemai Islam chief, Maulana Mufti Mahmud. Although later both Mr. Bhutto and Mufti Mahmud denied that their talks were of any political significance, political circles here considered the meeting as a prelude to the resumption of the Government party-Opposition dialogue which had broken down just before the arrest of Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo and Mr. Ataullah Mengal. …

The meeting … was held in the Prime Minister’s chamber. … When towards the end of the Assembly proceedings, Communications Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi moved to Mufti Mahmud’s seat and whispered something into his ear, Mufti Mahmud rose from his seat and followed the Prime Minister. … As this was the Prime Minister’s first appearance in the House during the current session, the gestures caught the attention of everyone. There were indications … that the Prime Minister may invite all members of the Assembly … for a chat on the general conditions in the country. … [Agencies add,] afterwards, Mr. Bhutto and Mufti Mahmud told … newsmen that it was just a meeting over a cup of tea.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2023

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