ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan People’s Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari is pressing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to take “people-friendly measures” amid inflation and instability, close aides said.

Senior PPP leaders, close to Zardari, told The Nation that Zardari was not satisfied with govt’s efforts to control inflation, especially the current hike in petroleum products price. “Zardari believes there could be better fight against inflation and much better could be done for people despite economic challenges,” said a close aide.

Zardari himself had yesterday spoken against new hike in petroleum products price and announced to meet Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif soon to discuss the matter.

“Zardari will convince Shehbaz Sharif to take steps that could improve people’s confidence in the govt,” said the PPP Co-Chairman’s aide, adding contacts were ongoing between the coalition partners.  This week, Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif rejected the coalition govt’s decision to increase petroleum products rates. Sources suggest the govt might ultimately withdraw or partially withdraw the controversial decision. Zardari, another close aide said, wanted the govt to perform better before the elections to boost the chances of success in the polls. The govt is banking upon the incoming funds from the International Monetary Fund to provide some relief to the masses who have been badly affected by the inflation. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan meanwhile has pushed up its anti-govt movement to highlight the inflation. Hundreds of supporters of Imran Khan held fresh protest demonstration in Islamabad against govt policies including rising inflation as well as alleged curbs imposed on the media houses. A large number of lawmakers, workers and supporters from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, staged protests in capital Islamabad against what they described “govt’s US backed policies.”

Holding responsible the Pakistan’s coalition govt for rising inflation and unrest in the country, the protestors were of the opinion that the current regime is trying to please the US—who brought this govt into power to achieve their desired results.

PPP leader Shazia Atta Marri said that former Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying to spread chaos and unrest in the country and he had used the puppet Chief Minister of Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.