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Possible Zardari-Fahim clash averted

world Updated: Mar 09, 2008 14:11 IST
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A possible clash between PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and prime ministerial hopeful Makhdoom Amin Fahim over a meeting of opposition parties was averted after the gathering was put off at the last minute.

Fahim, who yesterday said there was a feeling among people that he had been "humiliated and betrayed" due to PPP's delay in naming its candidate for the premiership, had called a meeting of the opposition Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) today. Fahim is the chief of the ARD.

Zardari had made it clear he would not attend the meeting as Fahim had not informed him beforehand about the move. Fahim put off the meeting after some PPP leaders intervened to avert a possible clash between Fahim and Zardari.

"We have averted an imminent political clash between Mr Fahim and Mr Zardari," said an ARD leader from the PPP. "Had the meeting been held, the participants would have supported Mr Fahim's candidature for the office of prime minister, as a result of which the gulf between the ARD leader and Mr Zardari would have widened," he told Dawn newspaper.

Some PPP leaders, especially those from Sindh province, played an important role in amicably resolving the situation.

Another ARD leader said Fahim was not competent to convene the session. He pointed out that Fahim had stepped down as the coalition's Chairman after slain former premier Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan from exile last year.

Fahim, meanwhile, brushed aside the impression of any rift within PPP and said he has no differences with other party leaders. "The party is united and I do not know why there is an impression of distancing between us," Fahim told reporters after a brief meeting with Zardari last night.

Fahim said he had called the ARD meeting to pay tributes to Bhutto and extend support to Zardari for forming the new government. "However, some media reports created misperception that I was preparing a counter strategy for certain purposes. Therefore I decided to postpone the meeting."