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PM, leaders close ranks for democracy
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/LAHORE - Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has held telephonic contact with PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Tuesday and discussed with them the current political situation.During his conversation with the political leaders, there was a consensus on upholding the Constitution and the democratic system. The leaders noted that democracy has been achieved in the country after rendering great sacrifices and struggle by the people of Pakistan, and it would be defended at all costs. Any attempt to subvert the Constitution, derail the democratic dispensation or adopt unconstitutional steps should be dealt with firmly, they all said with one voice.Raja Pervaiz said that the government is exercising restraint, patience and tolerance, which should not be taken as a sign of weakness. The leaders also agreed that the entire focus of the democratic and political forces should be on the preparation for next general elections and their holding in free, fair and impartial manner.Earlier, MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain rang up PM Raja and discussed the situation triggered in the aftermath of Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s long march.In conversation with the PM, Altaf said the country is beset with internal and external challenges and cannot afford the confrontational situation at this critical juncture. He urged the Prime Minister to resolve the issue with a reconciliatory approach.Altaf also appealed to Qadri not to lose his patience and exhibit restraint. Prime Minister said that the government is ready for negotiations with Dr Qadri; however, no unconstitutional measure would be acceptable at any cost.Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Karachi for over three weeks, on Tuesday consulted with the law minister and other party leaders.After summoned by the president, Law Minister Farooq Naek rushed to Karachi from Islamabad and met with Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House. Sources said that PPP leaders including Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Pir Mazharul Haq, Syed Murad Ali Shah and others also met with President Zardari.Besides, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also talked to the president on phone and discussed the situation.The premier also briefed the president about his telephonic conversation with the political leaders including MQM chief Altaf Hussain, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.President Zardari is likely to convene party leaders’ meeting in Karachi today (Wednesday) to discuss the post-verdict scenario.SAJID ZIA adds from Lahore: PML-N President Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has convened meeting of all Opposition parties on Wednesday (today).PML-N spokesman Asif Kirmani said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Syed Munawar Hassan, Prof Sajid Mir, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Talal Bugti, Aftab Sherpao, Salim Saifullah Khan, Hamid Nasir Chattha and Sajid Tareen will attend the meeting.Sources stated that the luncheon-meeting called at about 12:30 pm at Raiwind will deliberate on the situation after Dr Qadri has made demands of instant dissolution of National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.The meeting will also discuss a joint strategy to save democracy and frame a joint line of action. Sources further said a section in the PML-N desired invitation to PTI Chief Imran Khan also but an overall consensus could not be evolved on this issue.

 
 
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