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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.

PTI

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

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