ISLAMABAD - The unexpected return of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s has created ripples in the already volatile political landscape of Pakistan on the one hand, while enhancing the significance of some of the smaller political parties on the other, which have come in a better bargaining position with the major stakeholders.

Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUI-Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman position as a political player has been strengthened in the current situation for being both a part of the government as well as his close ties with Zardari.

Zardari’s return has definitely disturbed the government.

Sources in the government informed The Nation that though the ruling PML-N was downplaying the return of former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari but the rulers were perturbed, if not panicked with the harsh position Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership has taken against the government.

These sources said that under the given situation JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman could play a very a role for both sides in carving out some middle course to resolve the issue and to keep the PPP away from launching a serious movement against the PML-N.

Soon after the Panama Papers revelations implicating the family members of the prime minister and indirectly involving him, Nawaz Sharif had tasked Maulana Fazlur Rehman to visit London to help resolve the issue with former president Asif Ali Zardari, but despite all his efforts the JUI-F chief failed to broker a deal.

Some insiders in the PPP confirmed that Zardari was in constant touch with Rehman and would likely meet him in the coming days but it was difficult to predict who would convince whom, as the former president was fully capable of getting the JUI-F chief on his side.

Sources in the JUI-F admitted that their alliance with the ruling PML-N was not ideal and had seen many ups and downs since their joining the government, as Sharif had backed out from many commitments made with the party in the past.

The relations between the two coalition partners were at their lowest ebb when in complete defiance and disregard to PML-N, Rehman entered into seat adjustment with the PPP and other regional parties in the Senate elections.

Due to the JUI-F role the PML-N was defeated in the elections for the position of Chairman Senate and the PPP managed to bring Mian Raza Rabbani to head the upper house.

Some veteran parliamentarians commenting on the given situation said that the JUI-F chief would once again come in a position where he would exploit the government to get some of its long pending demands from the government for his mediatory role.

Sources in the JUI-F said that the government had yet to fulfil its promise on the Madrassa reforms and the concerns of the religio-political party over the women protection bill are yet to be addressed.

These sources said that the government was reluctant to provide them the ministerial position vacated by Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri at the time of his elevation to the slot of deputy chairman Senate.  Similarly, the JUI-F is again putting its stake for the position of chairman Council of Islamic Ideology to be filled early next month.

The slot for the past two terms was held by the JUI-F leader Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani.