ISLAMABAD -  Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday invited heads of almost all political parties to a multi-party conference convened by the PPP to discuss the issue of revival of military courts and the National Action Plan.

Interestingly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have not been invited to the conference scheduled for March 4.

Zardari’s letter, sent to political leaders, reads: “As you are aware that the country is faced with a number of critical issues, implementation of National Action Plan and revival of military courts being on the top that require brainstorming by political parties. With this end in view, we have organised a Multi-Party Conference.” 

It added: “I take this opportunity to invite you to the conference, the agenda of which is enclosed. You are welcome to bring with you three representatives of your party. Look forward to receiving you at the conference.”

The proposed agenda of the conference includes implementation of the NAP during the last two years, the revival of the military courts and implementations of reforms in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas as part of NAP. 

The PPP said that any other item could be included on the agenda with the permission of the participants.

Zardari, who is in Islamabad, held several meetings on Thursday. Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former interior minister Rehman Malik and Akhunzada Chatan called on Zardari. They informed him about the political situation in the country and discussed different aspects of the multi-party conference, the PPP said in a statement.

Former Tehsil Nazim Sahiwal and a former candidate for a seat in National Assembly Rana Aamir Shahzad also met with the former president and announced to join the PPP. Raja Pervez Ashraf and former federal minister Rana Farooq Saeed were also present on the occasion.

Earlier, addressing a news conference, PPP leaders Nayyar Bokhari, Farhatullah Babar and Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said the prime minister and the PML-N had not been invited to the conference.

Bokhari said that Zardari will remain in Islamabad for a ‘long time’ and will visit Lahore and Peshawar in between his stay. He said that the multi-party conference will discuss the issue of military courts and the NAP. “Fata reforms will also be on the agenda. We will see how it works,” he said.

Bokhari said that the PML-N was not invited as it had shown non-seriousness on the 21st amendment.

Farhtullah Babar said that Zardari had sent letters to the political parties and the PPP was showing seriousness to resolve the national issues. “This conference is not aimed at seeking the release of Dr Asim Hussain. We want to discuss the national issues,” he said.

Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said that the government should have called an all parties conference on the national issues but since “they did not bother, we are doing this job.”

The PPP leader said that Zardari wanted to exchange views with the leaders of different parties so that “we can evolve consensus”.

Meanwhile, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik felicitated the people of Fata on the approval of the recommendations for mainstreaming Fata.

He said that the people of Fata were highly regarded by the PPP and “we have always been of the view to give equal rights and importance to the people of Fata.”

He said that the Frontier Crimes Regulations was a black law which was architected by the British Raj. Malik said that PPP will always stand by the people of Fata and will leave no stone unturned in bringing them to the mainstream through necessary constitutional legislations and development.      

       –SHAFQAT ALI