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Pak's ruling coalition meets to forge strategy

world Updated: Jul 23, 2008 15:33 IST

Top leaders of the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling coalition met in Islamabad on Wednesday to forge a new strategy to counter terrorism and to discuss other problems confronting the country, including the restoration of judges deposed last year by President Pervez Musharraf.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London, stayed away from the crucial meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Sharif's brother, Punjabc Shahbaz Sharif, represented the PML-N at the meeting.

The meeting was attended by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.

Ahead of the meeting, Gilani on Tuesday was briefed by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on operations against the Taliban in the North West Frontier Province and tribal areas.

Rehman Malik, who functions as the interior minister, told reporters that "important decisions" regarding the security situation in the tribal areas will be taken in the meeting.

The PML-N has demanded that the issue of the war against terror should be taken up in parliament for a thorough debate. Senior PML-N leaders have also stressed the need for the PPP to deliver on its commitment to reinstate judges who were deposed by Musharraf during the emergency.

The influential lawyers' movement last week also threatened to launch country-wide protests if the deposed judges are not reinstated by August 14.