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President extends stay in Karachi

President Asif Ali Zardari.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has decided not to return to the presidency in the presence of Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad.

The president prefers to monitor fast changing political developments in Islamabad while sitting in Bilawal House, Karachi, for next few days despite the fact that he has been staying there for almost a month.

Farhatullah Babar, the President’s spokesman, confirmed that the president would extend his stay in Karachi while Dr Qadri and thousands of his followers are sitting near the parliament house for what he earlier called ‘change’ in the present electoral system and now dissolution of federal and provincial governments.

“The president will follow his own schedule. Qadri’s presence in Islamabad or anywhere else is not a factor in the determination of president’s schedule,” he said.

He, however, said the president was closely watching Dr Qadri’s protest programme and decision of the Supreme Court ordering the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

The spokesman said President Zardari wanted to call a meeting of the PPP’s core committee, but later it was shelved because of non-availability of party leaders in Karachi.

He said President Zardari believed that there were two aspects of the Supreme Court’s order — one is legal and the other is political.

“As far as the legal aspect is concerned, Law Minister Farooq Naek has informed the president about the whole situation and repercussions of the Supreme Court’s order and about its political fallout, the president will soon consult coalition partners,” the spokesman said.

Mr Babar dismissed reports that President Zardari would soon leave for Dubai to avoid an uncertain political situation in the country.

“He is not going anywhere and is ready to face any situation,” he said.

The president, he added, had reiterated the government’s resolve that elections would be held on time and they would not be delayed in any case.