LONDON  – The PPP and MQM, while keeping the options open over seat-to-seat adjustment for certain constituencies, agreed on Saturday to participate separately in the upcoming general elections.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik met with MQM chief Altaf Hussain here and discussed at length the political landscape of the country.

It was agreed that both the PPP and MQM would contest the upcoming elections separately, but would keep the options open over seat-to-seat adjustment for certain constituencies.  The two sides also agreed that their core committees would hold talks afresh on all the contentious issues.

Hussain said the MQM believed in maintaining old relations with all democratic forces, including the PPP, irrespective of the level of these ties. He asked Malik that his services would be remembered for ever if he succeeded in improving the law and order situation in the country, and bringing the culprits to justice. Lauding the role of the MQM chief for the survival of democracy in the country, Malik said the sacrifices rendered by Altaf Hussain for the sake of democracy were unforgettable. "Had Altaf Hussain not sided with the PPP, we could never have completed our five-year term, nor the democratic era could last five years", he held.

Malik also presented a bouquet to Altaf Hussain on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari.