Intense US, Saudi pressure behind Zardari-Sharif meeting

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Lahore, Oct.26 (ANI): The meeting between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif, which could have a far reaching effect on Pakistan's politics, has actually been organized under severe pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia, sources said.

Zardari and Sharif are scheduled to meet each other on Monday during a banquet meeting being held in the honour of visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdagon.

Sources said it was under tremendous pressure from Washington and Riyadh that both the two enemy-turned-brother-turned-enemy Pakistani leaders agreed to come to the discussion table.

One of the senior PML-N leader revealed that Sharif was in no mood to meet Zardari, but had to do so because of intense pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia, The Nation reports.

Sharif agreed for the meeting only after he was assured that Zardari was eager to resolve all pending issues with him.

Political pundits, however, see no positive outcome from the much-touted meeting.

Experts do not foresee any breakthrough as Sharif, in return for support for the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), is expected to demand at least immediate repeal of the 17th Amendment.

Sharif could also demand Zardari to shun the law barring people from serving a third term as country's Prime Minister, so as to enable him to sit on the powerful chair once again.

He could also ask for a cut in presidential powers including the authority to appoint armed forces' chiefs, experts believe.

Considering the past experiences of broken promises and mistrust between the two parties, it is highly unlikely that the meeting would yield something positive.

They feared that the failure of the meeting would once again see both the political parties indulge in confrontational politics similar to 1980s and 90s, which could then have a detrimental effect on the state's law and order situation. (ANI)

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