ISLAMABAD -  Former president Asif Ali Zardari believes ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif must show remorse before any reconciliation can even be considered, a close aide said.

Senior leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who remain in regular contact with the party co-chairman told The Nation, that although Zardari wanted to stay away from Sharif for the time being, “an apology can still do the trick [result in a Zardari-Sharif meeting].”

PPP leaders said Zardari wanted Sharif to know “how it feels” when someone refuses a meeting at a critical time.

“Nawaz Sharif had refused a meeting with Asif Ali Zardari [in 2015] for a reason known to everyone [a controversial speech]. Now why has Zardari become so sweet for them,” said a close aide of the former president who met him here on Sunday.

Sharif was disqualified on July 28th by the Supreme Court.

The ousted PM is now facing corruption charges filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Zardari has a love-hate relationship with Sharif.

They have reconciled and fought like schoolboys after the revival of democracy in 2008.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) became a part of the PPP-led government in 2008 but left within months after developing differences.

The PPP continued to remain part of the Punjab provincial government led by the PML-N for much longer until being asked to quit, by Sharif’s party.

When Zardari was struggling to clear his position after a controversial speech in June 2015, Sharif - as prime minister – cancelled a scheduled meeting with the PPP co-chairman.

This led to a new phase of rivalry as Zardari announced to give up the policy of reconciliation and take on the government.

For some time, the PML-N did not care but soon as the government found itself in trouble post the Panama leaks scandal, the ruling party tried to woo the PPP to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s aggressive opposition.

The PPP did not go as far as the PTI in attacking the government but also did not offer any olive branch.

Last week, Zardari had told his close aides that the PPP would stand with the institutions amid Nawaz Sharif’s struggle to prove his innocence after ouster for hiding assets.

Zardari has also recently refused Sharif’s indirect call for help.

Over the weekend, PPP’s opposition leader Khurshid Shah said the PPP would not help Sharif under any circumstances.

Another PPP leader, who met Zardari hours earlier, told The Nation that the PPP co-chairman was disappointed with the recent statement of Nawaz Sharif accusing him of pleasing “someone else” by snubbing him.

 “Zardari wants Sharif to learn a lesson and show remorse. Nawaz Sharif should apologise to Zardari and most importantly to the nation for his chequered past,” he added.

Meanwhile, PPP Information Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed on Sunday rejected the PTI’s proposal to dissolve the provincial assemblies for snap polls.

The PTI Speaker Fawad Chaudhry earlier said the party was ready to dissolve the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly – where it had the majority.

He said the provincial assemblies should be dissolved ahead of its time with consent from all stakeholders.

Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said the PPP would not dissolve the Sindh Assembly where it leads the provincial government.

“We rejected this proposal. The election should be held on time next year,” he said.

Ahmed however, added that delaying elections on one pretext or the other was also not acceptable.

“The elections should be held when they are due to be held. We have this principled stand. They should not delay it for delimitation or anything else,” he contended.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, PPP leader Saeed Ghani alleged that PTI chief Imran Khan was a corrupt man whose whole family was involved in corruption.

He said Imran Khan had settled his own children in the United Kingdom and was expecting others to work for him in Pakistan.

Ghani said Shah Mehmood Qureshi had become “Imran Khan’s slave” and was dancing to his tunes.