ISLAMABAD The political front remained extremely hot in the Federal Capital on Wednesday as the ruling PPP manoeuvred to get support of JUI-F, PML-Q and PML-Q (Likeminded), besides MQM, to save its government from a possible collapse.
The Governments efforts to bring JUI-F back in coalition bore no fruit, as Maulana Fazlur Rahman remained stuck to his stance of staying out of the Government leaving the ruling camp in disarray.
Syed Khurshid Shah, the chief whip of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party along with Presidents close aide Qayyum Soomro went to meet Fazl but talks remained inconclusive as the JUI-F did not change its stance.
Khursheed invited Fazl for another meeting on December 18.
We welcome political dialogues as it is part of the democratic system but we will not change our decision, said JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman while talking to media person after the meeting.
He said that his party was sticking to its decision to part ways with Government and would not take it back.
Sneaking away from the question whether his party had given three-time divorce to the Government, he only shared smile with the media men and said that they had clearly conveyed their decision and it could not be changed.
To another question about dismissal of Azam Swati from his office on violation of discipline, he remarked that it was also violation of discipline when the leadership of coalition partner JUI-F was not taken into confidence about the decision of dismissal.
We were not taken into confidence before the removal of our party minister, he said adding that PM should have consulted the partys leadership before taking the decision.
He said Azam Swati had followed instructions given by the PM, saying he did not raise the issue before media but took it up with the Supreme Court.
Fazl said that all the political forces were united for the democratic process and his party would not welcome any unconstitutional move in the country.
Later talking to media, Minister for Labour and Manpower Syed Khurshid Shah said Swati was instructed by the Prime Minister to take up the issue inside the Cabinet but he violated the directives.
When asked about PPPs contacts with other political parties including PML-Q, he said that the dialogue process was part of democracy and it would continue.
He said that they held talks with Maulana to convince him to rejoin the coalition.
He said that Maulana had accepted to attend the presidential dinner to be given by President Zardari at the Presidency in honour of the Chinese Prime Minister.
I have also met with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and discussed the recent political situation, he said, adding that he himself had met Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain thrice.
When asked about dismissal of the two ministers, he commented that the two ministers were sacked as the media wanted to the Government do so, saying the media should also praise the Governments positive steps.
Later, JUI (F) MNA Laiq Mohammad Khan said that removal of Azam Swati from his office was due to the fact that he had taken a stance to expose corruption in Haj operations.
Addressing a press conference, he said that Azam Swati had brought into the notice of Prime Minister the irregularities in the Haj operations.
Azam Swati informed the President and the PM about the corruption by writing letters but no action was taken on it, he said.
He said that the Government was also annoyed as Azam Swati had pledged to provide evidence of corruption in the apex court, he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has invited Pakistan Muslim League (Likeminded) President Senator Saleem Saifullah Khan for meeting, ostensibly to further the agenda of reconciliatory policy of Pakistan Peoples Party.
After getting a strong 'no from Maulana Fazlur Rehman the need to look for new allies needed even more and the call was made in this backdrop, sources in the government informed The Nation.
The information was later confirmed by Saleem Saifullah Khan after the groups informal meeting where he announced the formal meeting of the group in Lahore on Thursday to take a decision on the Governments initiative to woo them into the ruling coalition.
Sources in Pakistan Muslim League (Likeminded) informed that Saleem Saifullah Khan appreciated the decision of the PM to show door to two federal ministers and assured him that his group would not become part of any move to destabilise the incumbent political dispensation.
The sources further informed that under new arrangements the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) and PML (Likeminded), the splinter group of the Q-League, could be taken on board in case JUI-F did not come back in the government.
Meanwhile talking to media Central Information Secretary PPP Fouzia Wahab said that they were making efforts to strengthen the democratic institutions and the country could not afford any disturbance at this critical juncture.
To a question she said that they were having good relations with PML-Q as they had supported them in getting Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani elected as unopposed Prime Minister.
She further said that countrys stability and future of democracy were interlinked and all the democracy loving elements in the Parliament should extend support to the incumbent political dispensation for the better future of democratic institutions in the country.
She once again reiterated her partys stance to continue with its policy of reconciliation and taking all stakeholders on board while making policy decisions.
Meanwhile, the departure of JUI-F from the ruling coalition has pushed the PPP leadership to rope in the PML-Q by offering it six ministerial slots in the Federal Cabinet.
Well-placed sources privy to these developments told The Nation on Wednesday that PPP wheeler-dealers were actively busy in talks with the PML-Q leadership in order to finalise the deal.
The sources, however, made it clear that the proposed deal would not have any adverse implication for the PPP-PML-N coalition in the Punjab province.
The move is part of PPPs national reconciliation policy to take all the major political players on board in order to steer the country out of the given situation, the sources said, adding PPP-PML-Q might enter into a formal political alliance during the next general elections.
However, sources within the PML-Q were quite cautious about the PPPs offered deal, saying the move had to be seen into a broader context after Prime Minister Gilanis overture to the PML-Q Likeminded Group headed by Senator Salim Saifullah.
They viewed the move with scepticism and said that it could be a PPPs ploy to woo one of the factions to its side by offering the PML-Q six ministerial slots in the Federal Cabinet.
The sources said that the PPPs offer could be used as a double-edged sword and one did not know which faction of the PML-Q to benefit at the end of the day.
Both the PML-Q factions, one headed by the Senator Ch Shujaat Hussain and other by Senator Salim Saifullah, held series of consultations within their respective parties to deliberate the pros and con of the PPPs offered deal.
Some sources were of the view that PPP could woo both the factions by offering them these ministerial slots as per their numerical strength in the Parliament.
Interestingly, the PML-N seems least threatened over these developments.
We are not worried over these developments as long as PPP remains committed to honour our principled position, PML-N sources said.
They were optimistic that PPP leadership would not create problem for the PML-N as main ruling coalition partner in Punjab.
Meanwhile, Fazl held separate meetings with former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
The interactions were made on the sidelines of 'Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Conference.
We have closed our doors for the government, Shujaat quoted Fazl as saying during a brief chat with media.
The JUI-F chief and Qazi Hussain discussed the possibility of reactivating the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
On the other hand, a private TV channel while quoting sources reported that Fazlur Rehman has set a two-day deadline for the government to review the decision of removing Azam Swati from the cabinet.
According to sources, the development is a result of flexibility shown by the JUI-Fs chief, as he has asked the government to restore Swati to his lost and issue an apology.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 16-Dec-2010 here.