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PPP leaders discuss date for NA dissolution

ISLAMABAD, Jan 28: The PPP leadership discussed on Monday important issues related to the general elections during a meeting with the party’s Co-Chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidency.

Sources told Dawn that the meeting attended by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and PPP ministers discussed the possible dates for dissolution of the National Assembly and holding elections.

The sources said the meeting agreed that the time had come for making formal contacts with other political parties on the issue of setting up caretaker governments at the centre and in the provinces before the elections, which will become due anytime after completion of the National Assembly’s term on March 16.

The PPP leaders discussed various options and dates of elections and decided to discuss the matter with coalition partners before making a decision and initiating contacts with opposition parties, particularly the PML-N which is mandatory under the Constitution.

The sources said Mr Zardari was expected to convene a meeting of the heads of coalition parties in a couple of days to seek their opinion about possible election dates and caretaker regimes.

The president was informed about details of the meeting held between a government team and Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Sunday.

Presidency’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar, who is also the chairman of the controversial parliamentary commission on new provinces in Punjab, briefed the meeting on the commission’s final report which is ready to be presented before the National Assembly.

The PPP leaders, the sources said, discussed the possible fallout of the government’s move of presenting the commission’s report and the constitution amendment bill seeking creation of a new province comprising three south Punjab divisions and two districts of northern Punjab.

When contacted, Mr Babar denied that the president had presided over any meeting of the party’s core group. “The prime minister had come to meet the president with some members of his cabinet to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country,” he said in an effort to downplay the significance of the meeting, perhaps because of the court’s restrictions on the president to carry out political activities in the Presidency.