ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed his close aides to keep in touch with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership to resolve the issue of extension in stay of Rangers’ in Sindh.

Soon after landing back from Turkmenistan Sunday evening, the Prime Minister held a meeting with a few cabinet members and discussed with them the tension triggered after the press conference of Interior Minister grilling the Sindh government for adopting delaying tactics in granting extension to Rangers’ stay in Sindh, a source in the ruling PML-N told The Nation.

The source said that the meeting discussed various options in case the Sindh government refused to grant the extension. But the option of Governor’s Rule was never considered as an option even as a last resort, the source confirmed.

The mandated period of Rangers stay in Karachi had expired on December 5 and since then the Sindh chief minister is delaying to grant extension in its stay required under the constitution on one pretext or the other. While on the other hand, all the operations of Rangers almost came to a halt in the port city of Karachi, where over the past one year Rangers’ had successfully contained the activities of terrorists.

Later, the chief minister Sindh decided to get the matter of extension ratified by the Sindh Assembly, but again placed the issue down on the agenda list despite the fact that during his December 7 visit the Prime Minister had personally discussed the matter with the chief minister and the latter had given assurance that the government would get it passed from the provincial assembly.

Defending the chief minister Sindh, a senior party leader said that the Sindh Assembly was to take up the resolution granting extension to Rangers’ stay in Karachi yesterday but it was the opposition MPs from PML-N and PTI who had forced the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings.

He further said that now the provincial assembly could take up the issue on coming Wednesday as its Private Member’s is on Tuesday and the house could not take up the matter on the day.

A source in the PPP said that the Sindh government would try to linger the matter for another few days to exert pressure on the federal government and would likely to come up with some conditions to grant extension of Rangers’ stay.

The Prime Minister, before his departure for China to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Conference, yesterday tasked Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to meet Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and sort out the issue.

He barred all his cabinet members and senior party leaders from giving provocative statements on the issue to avoid further confrontation with the PPP. “The Prime Minister is not happy over the way the interior minister had put the Sindh government on the mat and later trading of blame game by the senior party leaders with PPP,” the sources in the party informed.

The sources said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was in constant touch with the Leader of Opposition and other senior PPP leaders to resolve the issue, but the yesterday’s statement of interior minister coming up with straight allegations against Khursheed Shah had made the task of rapprochement between the two sides a bit difficult.

The President could clamp Governor’s Rule in the province under Article 234 under certain circumstance listed in the article but the move needs to be ratified by the Joint Sitting of the Parliament within a two-month time and in case of failure the Governor’s Rule will automatically be lifted. So in the given circumstance the government would not go for such an extreme step and would sort out the matter with the Sindh government through negotiations.