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Prime Minister-Zardari meeting 'postponed'

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid on Wednesday confirmed that Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif has postponed his meeting with Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari after Zardari's highly controversial speech. Talking to newsmen here, the Federal Minister said it became necessary to postpone the meeting after Zardari's speech against army and other institutions.

Replying to a question regarding postponement of Prime Minister's scheduled meeting with Zardari, the Information Minister said cabinet colleagues advised the Prime Minister against meeting him in a tense environment. Terming all the national security institutions honourable, Rashid said a senior politician who once served on the highly coveted slot of Pakistan should have chosen his words with caution. "Discussing sensitive issues on media further complicates the issues instead of resolving them," Rashid added. He said Zardari's statement came at a time when Pakistan is deeply engaged in a battle against terrorism and it was inappropriate. "The key role played by the operation Zarb-e-Azb in countering the menace of terrorism cannot be ignored," he said.

Rashid lauded the role of Pakistan Army in the ongoing fight against terrorism and said the military has rendered huge sacrifices in the line of duty. He dismissed the impression that the federal government was considering imposing governor's rule on Sindh, saying everything can be discussed in the Apex Committee meeting. Pervaiz Rashid pointed out that the Army is securing the entire country especially the city where Zardari resides. He said Zardari and the provincial government should be appreciative of the services rendered by the Army to cleanse the city of extortionists, land-grabbers and target killers.

To another question, he suggested former president to amend his remarks, adding that Pakistan was facing a multitude of problems and challenges requiring national unity and solidarity and Zardari's gesture could help strengthen the national harmony. He said instead of discussing such issues publicly these should be discussed during meetings of the Apex Committee, which is the appropriate platform for the purpose. He said the Prime Minister would play his role in mitigating the tension and promote reconciliation. To a question, the Minister said telephone of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a right step in the right direction.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015