Zardari visits Gilani; assures the former PM of support

Zardari added that the party had planned a strategy to challenge Gilani`s disqualification as a lawmaker.

Updated: Nov 16, 2012, 23:45 PM IST

Lahore: President Asif Ali Zardari visited former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in his hometown of Multan on Friday to allay his concerns about being abandoned by the ruling Pakistan People`s Party in the face of several challenges.

Zardari visited Gilani a day after the former premier`s sons complained in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament that the federal government was not reining in Federal Investigation Agency officials who had served notices on Gilani and his elder son Abdul Qadir for their alleged role in a Haj corruption case.

PPP sources said that Zardari`s visit was aimed at sending out a message that he and the party had not "deserted the Gilanis of Multan".

Zardari said Gilani was an asset of the PPP and the party owed him a lot for his sacrifices.
He further said Gilani would lead the PPP`s campaign for the upcoming general election.
Zardari added that the party had planned a strategy to challenge Gilani`s disqualification as a lawmaker.

Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court in June after being convicted of contempt for refusing to reopen graft cases against Zardari in Switzerland.
The President also met PPP legislators at a luncheon.

The legislators sought his help for carving a Seraiki province out of southern Punjab ahead of the 2013 polls.

Zardari told them that a parliamentary commission on creating new provinces would soon complete its work and a draft report would be tabled in the National Assembly.
After his disqualification in June, former premier Gilani moved to the presidency where he lived till the first week of October.

Gilani left the presidency following reports of a rift between him and the PPP`s top leadership.

After a week of heated debate in the media over the political future of Gilani, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf personally drove to Islamabad Club, where he was staying, and took him back to the presidency.

In the first week of November, Gilani again left the presidency and shifted to the nearby Sindh House.

This time, he reportedly shifted because his family wanted more space.
With no chance of contesting the next election unless the Supreme Court reviews its judgement on his disqualification, Gilani was worried about his political future and his sons, who are facing corruption charges in several cases, sources said.