LAHORE, March 8: A meeting of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, hurriedly called by its president Makhdoom Amin Fahim for Sunday, was called off on Saturday reportedly after some PPP leaders intervened to ‘avert a political clash’ between the ARD chief and the PPP co-chairman.

“Thank God, we have averted an imminent political clash between Mr Fahim and Mr Zardari,” said an ARD leader associated with the PPP.

“Had the meeting been held, the participants would have supported Mr Fahim’s candidature for the office of prime minister, as a result of which the gulf between the ARD leader and Mr Zardari would have widened,” he remarked.

He said some PPP leaders, especially those belonging to Sindh, had played an important role in resolving the situation amicably.

The PPP is a component of the ARD. However, some reports had quoted Mr Zardari as saying that his party had nothing to do with Sunday’s meeting.

Another ARD leader said that Mr Fahim was not competent to call the session. He recalled that Mr Fahim had stepped down as the coalition’s chairman after Ms Benazir Bhutto’s return to the country.

Mr Fahim could not call a meeting without consulting the secretary-general. The secretary-general, he claimed, was not even aware of the meeting.

Yet another leader said it was the PPP’s prerogative, not the ARD’s, to select its candidate for the prime minister’s office.

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