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Zardari, Gilani review political situation in Pakistan

December 21, 2011 14:11 IST

In the first such meeting after his sudden return from Dubai, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari reviewed the political situation in Pakistan with premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, even as the government dismissed as "speculative" reports that he planned to travel to London.

Gilani and Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, a key leader of the ruling coalition, called on Zardari at Bilawal House here last night. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah too attended the meeting.

This was the first meeting between the President and the Prime Minister since Zardari returned to Pakistan on Monday from Dubai, where he was treated for a heart condition.

56-year-old Zardari's abrupt departure for Dubai on December 6 had sparked rumours that he had fled the country because of pressure from the military to resign over a secret memo sent to the US seeking its help to avert a possible coup in Pakistan following Osama bin Laden's killing in May.

The leaders discussed the "overall political situation with particular reference to the latest developments", presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on the Zardari and briefed him on the law and order situation.

Zardari also spoke to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on phone and discussed the current political situation.

Presidential spokesman Babar contradicted reports in a section of the media that Zardari was planning to leave for London.

"Reports of his leaving for London are speculative and untrue. The President is in the country, is here to stay and there are no plans to travel abroad," he said.

Zardari is expected to remain in Karachi over the next few days.

He is likely to participate in events to be held at Larkana on December 27 to mark the death anniversary of his wife, former Premier Benzair Bhutto.

The President returned to Pakistan at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing petitions seeking a probe into the memogate scandal.

The military has urged the apex court to order a thorough investigation into the memo while the government has called for the petitions to be dismissed.

A statement issued by the army on Monday sought to dispel the impression that Zardari had returned to Pakistan from Dubai under a deal with the military.

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