Islamabad, Aug 11 : Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reportedly played a crucial behind-the-scene role in persuading PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for deciding to bring about an impeachment motion against President Pervez Musharraf.
According to The News, Gilani told Zardari that they all should "swim and sink" with the political forces of PML (N) in the larger interests of democracy.
Quoting sources, the paper reported that Gilani was much concerned about the deteriorating image of the party, which was seen as working with Musharraf to the much annoyance of the media and the people of Pakistan.
Background interviews with some top political players of the game revealed that PM Gilani said to have expressed his opinion during party meetings in the presence of Asif Zardari. He assertively pleaded if at any stage they all have to make a final choice between Musahrraf and Nawaz Sharif, then PPP leaders should be standing with the PML-N in line with the democratic credentials of the party.
Sources said one of the major reasons for the public silence of Gilani, instead of asserting himself in the difficult period of his office, was the psychological burden of drastic action of Farooq Leghari in 1996 against the Benazir government. A loyalist of PPP like Gilani did not want to be perceived as someone who was trying to repeat the ugly political history or give yet another excuse to political forces to taunt him as it was done in the case of Farooq Leghari, added the sources.
A decent politician like Gilani is said to have preferred to wait for gradual improvement in the political situation of the country through dialogue, instead of being seen on the front rows of the negotiation teams of the PPP-PML-N, said the sources.
Insiders said the vital working relationship between the PML-N and the PPP were saved by Gilani from collapsing last week, when during a crucial meeting an angry delegation led by Shahbaz Sharif walked out of the negotiations from the Zardari House. The PM is said to have told Mian Shahbaz Sharif in a frank tone that he was given a wrong picture about the controversial summary moved to Musharraf to restore the eight judges of the Sindh High Court.
Gilani told them that he was informed by his law minister that the move had the strong backing of Nawaz Sharif. This truth is said to have greatly embarrassed the PPP ministers who were present there when Gilani explained the real situation to Shahbaz Sharif.
But, at the same time, the straight forward talk with the PML-N delegation greatly impressed the Nawaz Sharif camp, which salvaged the alliance between the two parties, which was at the brink of disaster after the abortive attempt by Farooq Naek to misguide the prime minister.