Pakistan's ruling PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is expected to meet his rival, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, in London to discuss modalities for the latter's return to the country ahead of the general election due by mid-January.
Hussain is currently in London for a medical check-up but sources in his Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid party said he had been "tasked with finalising the details" for the return to Pakistan of the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, The News reported on Wednesday.
The sources said the government, and especially Hussain, wanted the PML-N's participation in the general election to give "credence to the already initiated national reconciliation process".
This process was set in motion by the National Reconciliation Ordinance issued by President Pervez Musharraf to grant amnesty to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and other political leaders in graft cases registered between 1986 and 1999. However, the law does not cover Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Sources in the PML-N too confirmed the "top-level contacts" and the possibility of more such contacts in future. If these parleys bear fruit, Shahbaz Sharif would return to Pakistan in early November.
Nawaz Sharif was deported Saudi Arabia from Pakistan when he attempted to return to the country on September 10 after the Supreme Court allowed his homecoming.