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Zardari-quitting buzz gets louder, spokesman says NO

Last updated on: January 11, 2012 15:50 IST

Zardari-quitting buzz gets louder, spokesman says NO

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Pakistan's beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari made no offer to resign during a meeting of top leaders of the country's ruling coalition that was held after the Supreme Court warned it could take action against him, the presidential spokesman said today.

Reacting to reports in a section of the media that said Zardari had offered to resign during a meeting of the Pakistan People's Party and its allies late Tuesday night, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said, "There is no truth in these reports."

"Neither in the allies' meeting on Tuesday night nor at any other stage has the President offered to resign and the reports suggesting otherwise are contrary to the facts and reality of the situation," Babar said in a brief statement.

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Image: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari
Photographs: Reuters

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Sources in the PPP dismissed reports in a section of the media that Zardari intended to travel again to Dubai in the near future. They pointed out that these reports had originated from a news agency that had last year issued reports based on fake WikiLeaks cables that it claimed were about India.

The News daily had quoted its sources as saying that Zardari had told the PPP's allies during Tuesday night's meeting that he was prepared to resign and call an early general election if parties in the ruling coalition wanted him to take such a step.

The top leadership of the PPP and its coalition partners met last night after the Supreme Court warned that action could be taken against Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for failing to reopen high-profile graft cases.


Image: Zardari with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
Photographs: Reuters
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During the meeting of the PPP and its coalition partners, some leaders like PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Awami National Party head Asfandyar Wali Khan advised the government to avoid an "emotional reaction" and to find a way forward in keeping with a policy of reconciliation.

However, some hawks within the PPP advocated the adoption of an "aggressive stance" and asked the government to move ahead with a "no-surrender policy".

Zardari assured his allies that he would "go to last stage to save democracy and democratic institutions as he did not believe in confrontation", The News reported.

At the same time, Zardari made it clear that there would be "no compromise on principles".



Image: Zardari said he was ready to quit during a meet on Wednesday night
Photographs: Reuters

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Zardari-quitting buzz gets louder, spokesman says NO

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According to an official statement, the leaders of the ruling coalition decided to call an urgent session of parliament on Thursday to discuss the apex courts warning. The president cut short a visit to Karachi and rushed back to Islamabad on Tuesday for a series of meetings that assessed the fallout of the apex courts order in a case related to the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty that had benefited Zardari and over 8,000 others.

Since the apex court struck down the NRO in December 2009, it has been pressuring the government to reopen cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari in Switzerland. The government has refused to do so, saying the President enjoys immunity from prosecution under the Constitution.


Image: An anti-government protest in Pakistan
Photographs: Reuters

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