LAHORE – President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday telephoned PML-N chief Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and expressed condolences over the demise of his younger brother Abbas Sharif who passed away last week.

According to a PML-N statement, the telephonic conversation was confined only to condolences. But well-informed sources said it was a detailed talk wherein exchange of views on the current political issues also came under discussion.

They said the matters pertaining to the next elections and shielding the democratic process also came under discussion. The two leaders agreed not to let any harm come to the present democratic dispensation and that next general elections would be held on time and in a free and fair manner. The sources said President Zardari also mentioned about the joint declaration of the opposition parties, and expressed positive views on consulting all parties and stakeholders on setting up interim governments.

They said the president informed the PML-N head that he had called a session of the National Assembly and the Senate on January 21when election date might be announced formally.

About the long march of Dr Qadri, the president said he had sent a team to talk with Qadri and nothing unconstitutional would be accepted therein. The sources said it was agreed that both the sides would consult each other in case any constitutional amendment would need to clear things about the next elections.