ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday asked his ministers to go soft on the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

“The PM does not want tension. He has asked his team to show patience and do not respond to the hostile statements as this could damage the reconciliation bids,” a senior minister told The Nation after a cabinet meeting here.

“The PM reiterated that no party is being targeted in the Karachi operation and some elements are trying to link isolated cases with the anti-terror campaign,” he added.

“The cabinet was unanimous that the Karachi operation and the anti-corruption campaign must continue but the reservations of the PPP and the MQM should also be addressed. There were of course no two opinions on the operation Zarb-e-Azb,” he mentioned.

The PPP and the MQM have been criticising the government for allegedly targeting them in the campaign against terrorism and corruption.

The MQM has already quit the parliament in protest and the government is making efforts to convince them to withdraw their decision. The PPP is also threatening to jump on to a collision course with the government if it does not end the alleged victimisation. The tense relations with the PPP and the MQM are over and above the confrontation with the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.

The same day, PM Sharif held a meeting with JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman to discuss the political situation. “Matters related to mutual interests and national affairs were discussed during the meeting,” an official statement said. Sources said, the issue of MQM resignations and the tense ties with the PPP came under discussion in the meeting.

Fazl Rehman had recently stepped down as the government emissary to reconcile with the MQM. The JUI chief is also interested in getting more shares in the expanded federal cabinet.

Some media reports had hinted the issue of cabinet expansion was to be discussed on Tuesday but participants said the matter remained touched in the relatively brief session.

Another participant of the meeting said, the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) was discussed. “The PM directed for implementing the plan in letter and spirit as the nation could not afford to tolerate terrorisms anymore,” said the minister.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Sharif was reported to have expressed dissatisfaction over the implementation of NAP in a cabinet meeting. The Interior Ministry, however, claimed the PM was not annoyed and instead had appreciated the efforts of various departments to make the war on terror a success.

“The PM believes strict implementation of NAP is a key to achieving the desired goals,” said the cabinet member. An official statement said, the cabinet meeting “focused on provision of relief package for farmers.”

“The cabinet offered fateha (prayers) for the Shuhada (martyrs) of Makkah crane crash. The cabinet expressed its grief and sorrow over the incident,” the statement said.

“The federal cabinet discussed in detail the problems being faced by farmers in the country and approved Rs 341 billion relief package to ameliorate the sufferings of the farmers due to the abundance of crops and low international prices,” it said.

The state run media reported, “The federal cabinet (also) discussed the overall political and security situation in the country.”

The cabinet approved the Rs 341 billion for the farmers that was later announced by the PM at the Kissan Convention here. The package envisages direct cash assistance to the farmers, relief in prices of agriculture inputs, provision of agriculture loans and simplifying the procedure of loans.