Pakistan's Awami National Party mulls quitting coalition govt

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Islamabad, Jul 4 (UNI) Pakistan's Pushtoon nationalist Awami National Party is mulling over parting ways with ruling coalition in the wake of differences with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) over important policy issues.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) has already pulled its ministers from federal cabinet after the PPP failed to implement an understanding it had reached with the former for restoration of judges deposed by President Pervez Musharraf after imposition of emergency in the country in November last year.

''After the Awami National Party (ANP) made public its reservations and the possibility of quitting the ruling coalition, the PPP has directed the party leaders to formally hold a meeting with the ANP and address their reservations and grievances on a priority basis, local daily The News today said.

The paper quoted ANP spokesman Zahid Khan as saying that the PPP had requested its annoyed coalition partner not to highlight the issue in the media.

''The PPP has conveyed to the ANP that the issues between the two allies will be addressed through consultations,'' they said.

Mr Khan said Information Minister Sherry Rehman had approached him with the request to avoid highlighting the contentious issues in the media.

He said the PPP leader had told him that all the issues would be settled through negotiations.

''The minister told me that all the issues will be addressed through talks and, therefore, these should not be brought in the media till the meeting of the joint committee is held,'' he said.

The ANP spokesman said the joint committee of the two coalition partners was likely to meet in Islamabad on Tuesday.

He said he had also informed ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan about the telephone call of the minister.

UNI XC PD UCS1207

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