Sharif assures Zardari of full support

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Islamabad, Mar 11 (UNI) Pakistan Muslim League(N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif has assured all possible support to his new political ally Mr Asif Ali Zardari, if the PPP faces any cracks from within or outside forces conspire to break it, a local media report today said.

Amid reports that some government forces were bent upon dividing the Pakistan People's Party by fuelling the Amin Fahim factor, the frontrunner for Prime Ministerial slot, the PML(N) has assured that it would not let any such conspiracy succeed against the PPP.

The News quoted Mr Sharif as saying that he would not let any such conspiracy succeed by extending his complete support to the PPP in parliament and outside.

The PML(N) chief was commenting on reports that some government forces were encouraging a number of PPP MNAs-elect to side with Makhdoom Amin Fahim in case he was not named for the prime minister's slot.

According to reports, a considerable number of PPP MNAs-elect were being encouraged to side with Mr Makhdoom, who has reportedly developed serious differences with Mr Zardari for being denied the opportunity to become the Prime Minister.

Until a few days ago the number of disgruntled MNAs-elect was said to be in dozens but now it has come down to a single figure.

PPP sources, however, feel confident that the signing of the March 9 historic Bhurban Accord by Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari has not only given a phenomenal boost to the stature of both leaders but it has also helped the latter have firm control over his party facing threats of division.

Not only that the Amin Fahim factor has been controlled significantly but external efforts to create a rift in the party have also faced a serious dent.

Now Mr Zardari is in a comfortable position to name anyone for the office of prime minister, a party source said, adding even if he himself wants to become the prime minister he would enjoy smooth sailing.

However, some sources in the party do feel that Asif Ali Mr Zardari should take the initiative for bridging the gulf between him and Mr Fahim.

There is an admission that some PPP leaders hovering around Mr Zardari are playing the game of forces which are interested to see the party divided.

The present rift between Mr Zardari and Mr Fahim is also said to be the work of such spoilers in the party. It is also being discussed within the party circles that Mr Fahim is playing in the hands of the government, which does not want to see the coalition between the PPP and the PML-N work.

Mr Fahim himself sounds jittery. He had said that he would not divide the party no matter who is nominated for the office of the prime minister by the co-chairman.

PPP sources admit that Mr Zardari's commitment to restore the judges has increased his popularity both within the party and outside. The signing of the Bhurban Accord, these party sources said, has unified the top rank and file of the party around Mr Zardari.

Many of even Amin Fahim's close friends and loyalists have decided not to allow anyone to divide the party. Though Mr Fahim has been loyal to the party for almost four decades, he has been generally perceived as the PPP man having links with the establishment.

Mr Fahim, however, remained one of the most respected amongst the senior lot in the party both because of his decency and civility.

Some of his close party friends are of the view that his politeness, which does not allow him to use harsh language against his enemy, is the basic reason for the impression amongst some that he is an establishments man.

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