The presence of former interim Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jataoi here has set off speculation that President Pervez Musharraf is working on plans to form a national unity government ahead of the general elections slated for later this year.
Besides Jatoi, the names of Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao and pro-Musharraf politician Hamid Nasir Chattha were considered for the interim Prime Minister's slot in a "proposed" government of "national unity," Daily Times reported on Tuesday.
But all the three names were dropped and a meeting was scheduled between the President and Jatoi, it said. Jatoi is in Islamabad for more than a week and the political pundits are predicting the formation of a government of "national unity" sooner than later, it said.
Jatoi seldom comes to Islamabad, but it is always a coincidence that whenever he makes an appearance in the federal capital, the country is faced with a peculiar political situation suggesting a change.
There are also reports that Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto are close to reach a deal to work out a rapprochement before the polls.
Jatoi, who began his political career in Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in 1969 and worked as a Minister in her father Z A Bhutto's government, was appointed interim Prime Minister in 1989 by the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan for about three months soon after dismissing her government.
According to the Pakistan Constitution, an interim government should rule the country before the polls.
Jatoi was quoted as telling the President that the idea of a government of "national unity" would not take off until Bhutto and deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and those who mattered in Balochistan are taken on board.
But Jatoi denied reports that he had a meeting with Musharraf.
Though the reports that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is on his way out and a change in the government is imminent continue to make headlines, people close to the Premier say that Aziz is confident as he enjoys "200 per cent" support of Musharraf, the newspaper said.