‘Zardari offers caretaker PM’s post to Pagara’

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-N fears that it will lose its ‘potential’ ally in Sindh as Pir Pagara of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional has been reportedly offered the slot of caretaker prime minister by the Pakistan People’s Party.

A Punjab-based leader of the PML-F claims that his chief is giving a serious consideration to the offer.

An official of the N-League admitted that the offer, if accepted, would altogether change the political scene in Sindh as his party had pinned hopes on PML-F’s support for neutralising the PPP influence in the interior of Sindh.

The official disclosed that Pir Pagara had in his meeting with Nawaz Sharif at Raiwind last week also urged the PML-N president to reconsider his policy towards the Chaudhrys of Gujrat so that efforts could be made to bring all Muslim League factions in Punjab on one platform, citing a similar initiative in Sindh.

The official feared that if N-League ignored the suggestion of uniting all factions, the Functional League could use the point to part ways with the PML-N for accepting the office of caretaker prime minister.

Asked if Nawaz Sharif could rethink his attitude towards the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, he said in his personal opinion the PML-N would have no objection in accepting (PML-Q president) Chaudhry Shujaat as an ally provided (deputy prime minister) Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was asked to refrain from making statements that irked the Sharif brothers.

Similarly, he said, they had no problems with Sheikh Rashid of the Awami Muslim League.

According to the official, Nawaz Sharif is likely to inform Pir Pagara of his decision on the issue when he visits the PML-F
president in Karachi next week.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali, informed Nawaz Sharif about the results of his contacts with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-i-Islami amir Syed Munawwar Hasan about the caretaker set-up.

Sources told Dawn that Chaudhry Nisar had been given a go-ahead to also consult Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf on the interim government.

Unlike making a phone call urging consultation for nominating the chief election commissioner, he will personally call on Mr Khan to seek his opinion on the caretaker prime minister.

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