Cracks have developed in the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) that leads the country's ruling coalition with its vice chair Amin Faheem saying he was distancing himself from the party.
"In a surprise development on Sunday evening... Faheem said a line had been drawn in the PPP," Dawn reported Monday.
"He distanced himself from the PPP-led government, saying that a new PPP was in the government and he had no relations with it," the newspaper added.
His remarks came on the sidelines of a book release function in Hyderabad and "could be described as the beginning of his public expression of reservations on recent party decisions", Dawn said.
Faheem is apparently sore over the party's stance on reinstating the Supreme Court judges President Pervez Musharraf had sacked after imposing an emergency last November, as also on the PPP's ambivalent position on impeaching the president.
The PPP had initially agreed with coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that the judges would be restored but then backtracked, saying this would be part of a package to restore the constitution to as it existed in 1973.
This had prompted the PML-N to pull its ministers out of the government while remaining a part of the coalition.
The PPP then took the back door route on the issue, raising the strength of the Supreme Court from 16 to 29 to accommodate the sacked judges and retaining the new bench that Musharraf had sworn in under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) he promulgated along with the emergency.
As for Musharraf's impeachment, the PML-N has been vociferously demanding this even as the PPP is yet to clearly state its stance on the issue.
Faheem said the people "were confused between the (two) issues" and the government was not paying adequate attention to "the real issues" like rising prices, growing militancy in the country's restive northwest, and the lack of development.
Thus, "a line had been drawn in the PPP and new and senior people were on different sides of the line" but "he was not responsible for creating the line", Faheem noted, even as he denied that there were moves to make him Pakistan's president.
Faheem's son Jameel-uz-Zaman is Sindh's minister for inter-provincial coordination.