JuI leader sticks to his decision to pull out of PPP-led govt
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 23:41
Islamabad: Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday spurned the Pakistan People's Party efforts to woo him back to the ruling coalition, a day after he pulled his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party out of the government over the sacking of a minister.

Labour Minister Syed Khursheed Shah and Qayyum Soomro, a close aide of PPP chief and President Asif Ali Zardari, met Rehman and tried to convince him to return to the coalition, sources said.

However, Rehman maintained during the hour-long meeting that he would not review his decision to quit the government.

Rehman told the PPP leaders that the JUI had decided by consensus to part with the ruling coalition and it would not be possible to change this decision, sources said.

Emerging from the meeting, Shah told reporters that the PPP would continue to be in contact with the JUI.

He said Rehman is expected to meet President Zardari on the sidelines of a banquet to be held at the presidency for visiting Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on December 18.

Rehman told the media that he was determined to stick to his decision to quit the government as the PPP had ditched its policy of reconciliation with other political parties.

However, political observers have questioned whether Rehman will remain firm on his decision to pull out of the coalition as he had often used the threat of leaving the alliance as a bargaining chip with the PPP.

The JUI quit the government yesterday after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked a minister who was engaged in a public spat over alleged corruption in Haj arrangements for Pakistani pilgrims.

The departure of the JUI's eight parliamentarians has not affected the government, which has a majority in the 342-member National Assembly or lower house of parliament with the backing of over 180 lawmakers.

Media reports today said Prime Minister Gilani had established contact with a dissident group of PML-Q parliamentarians led by Salim Saifullah Khan.

There was no official word on the development but it assumes significance in view of the disquiet among leaders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, another key ally in the PPP-led coalition.

The MQM, which has its powerbase among Urdu-speaking people in Karachi, has been stung by allegations by senior PPP leaders that it was behind ethnic violence in the port city.

MQM parliamentarians held a meeting today to review the political developments but the party, which has 25 members in the National Assembly, has given no signs that it will pull out of the government.


First Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 23:41

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