With anti-government protesters stepping up pressure on him to quit, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari for a luncheon meeting on Saturday to discuss issues related to the political impasse.
Sharif had a telephonic conversation with Zardari on Friday and invited him for the luncheon meeting on Saturday at the Prime Minister’s House.
Zardari, co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is currently in Karachi. He mostly lives in Dubai since stepping down last year at the end of his five-year term as the President.
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Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the two leaders on Friday talked to each other and agreed to meet on Saturday. Both leaders are bound by the ‘Charter of Democracy’ signed between Sharif and former PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in 2006 to strengthen democracy, media reports said.
Zardari has won admiration because his party was the first ever to complete its allotted five-year term in coup-prone Pakistan and hand over power to Sharif in a smooth transition.
It is expected that the two leaders will discuss the stand off between the government and thousands of protesters camping in Islamabad, calling for Sharif’s ouster.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri are protesting alleged vote rigging in polls last year and demanding Sharif’s resignation and holding of fresh polls.
Khan and Qadri had separately launched protests from eastern city of Lahore on Thursday to dislodge the 15-month old Sharif government and have been camping in the capital since Saturday with thousands of their supporters.