ISLAMABAD — A delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Tuesday held talks with senior leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to discuss broad cooperation on national issues.
Farooq Sattar led the MQM team while Ishaq Dar headed the PML-N side. Sattar later told reporters that the meeting was designed to promote a broad national consensus on serious challenges confronting the nation. He said the MQM had played the role of opposition on matters directly impacting on the problems faced by common man.
Babar Ghauri, who accompanied Sattar, refuted media reports that the two parties are discussing possible election alliance.
Ishaq Dar said during the talks he had a perception if he was talking to opposition leaders.
Earlier, a senior PML-N leader said President Asif Zardari had panicked at the reports of projected MQM-PML-N meeting that prompted him to promise local government polls prior to general elections.
Meanwhile, media reports said the ruling PPP had initiated informal contacts with the PML-N over the interim government mandated by the constitution under the 18th Amendment to oversee elections.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif presided over a meeting of senior leaders in Islamabad on Monday which shortlisted names for possible interim prime minister.
The meeting authorised Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to consult other opposition parties in order to evolve a consensus.
Nisar said he would also take into confidence on the issue the parties like Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and Jamaat-e-Islami who are not represented in the Parliament.
Media reports said federal minister Khurshid Shah who was due to start first round of talks with a PML-N team on Tuesday, flew to Karachi on a call from President Asif Ali Zardari. Another report said the PML-N has proposed the names of Baloch nationalist leaders Ataullah Mengal and Mahmood Khan Achakzai for the slot of the interim premier besides two retired judges, Saeeduz-Zaman Siddiqui and Nasir Aslam Zahid. Mengal and Achakzai, however, have declined the offer. Mengal said he would not like to be dragged in such matters while Achakzai said he wanted to contest election.
Under the constitution, the prime minister and leader of the opposition have to consult each other on the interim set up. In case of failure to reach a consensus, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would name the premier.