Nawaz, Zardari meet today to plan ‘joint strategy’ against challenges

* Protection of Pakistan Ordinance tops agenda as government faces resistance from opposition over its passage * PPP to support PML-N over Musharraf’s trial

ISLAMABAD: Former president and Co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari will meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today (Wednesday) in a significant political move aimed at ironing out differences as well as strengthening each other in the wake of challenges arising from Pervez Musharraf’s high treason trial. 
According to sources, the meeting between the two top political figures of the country is taking place at a crucial moment when the government is striving hard to secure the support of opposition PPP for the controversial Protection of Pakistan Bill (PPB), which has been approved by the National Assembly and is in the Senate now. The PPP, which is in majority in the Upper House of parliament, has opposed the controversial bill in the Lower House of parliament, and vowed to oppose it in Upper House too.
A wide range of issues will come under discussion in the meeting between the two leaders, but sources said that the focus would remain on PPB on which the government wants to take the opposition along. Sources revealed that both the leaders are also expected to discuss Pervez Musharraf’s case, particularly in the backdrop of the reported tensions between the PML-N government and military, which were triggered by harsh statements by two members of the cabinet.
According to sources, PPP leadership will assure the prime minister of its full backing on Musharraf’s trial, apparently to reciprocate the gesture of Nawaz Sharif when he supported the PPP-led previous federal government when many issues created misunderstanding between the army and the then PPP government. Although on the memo scandal, Nawaz moved the court but he vowed to resist any extra-constitutional adventure against the democratic setup at that time, sourced pointed out.
According to sources, opposition leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah, Senator Raza Rabbani, PPP parliamentary leader in Senate, and few others would accompany Asif Ali Zardari in the meeting. Interestingly, the meeting is taking place just a day after the PPP along with other opposition parties made the prime minister bound to appear in the Senate for his continuous absence from the House since taking over the charge of government.
After the change of the government at the federal and provincial level in June last, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have met only twice. Nawaz hosted a banquet in Zardari’s honour at the Prime Minister’s House as the later completed his five-year term at the Presidency.

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