Zardari seeks unity of allies before US visit

January 13th, 2011 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Islamabad, Jan 13 (IANS) Seeking solidarity among ruling alliance partners on foreign policies, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari held talks with several leaders, including opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, before leaving for a week-long US trip.Zardari separately held telephonic talks Wednesday with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Rehman and Awami National Party (ANP) President Asfandyar Wali Khan to take them into confidence on his visit to the US.

Zardari also consulted Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain over telephone, the News reported.

According to sources, the president took them into confidence about his scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

The president left for the US Wednesday after his meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden in Islamabad. It was first time that before leaving for a foreign visit, Zardari held consultations with national leaders.

The president will join other leaders from around the world to attend a memorial service of Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, who passed away last month.

Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led coalition government has witnessed a crisis recently after its key ally MQM decided to part ways, putting the government into minority.

The stalemate ended Sunday with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accepting a list of demands by the main opposition PML-N, headed by former two-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Their demands included taking steps to address endemic corruption and price hikes.

Gilani also succeeded in winning back the support of the MQM.

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