ISLAMABAD - The government has covertly conveyed to the Pakistan People’s Party that Asif Ali Zardari will not be arrested in any corruption related cases, The Nation has learnt.

“The PM has noticed aggressive statements from PPP leaders against their alleged crackdown. He has given assurance to the PPP that Zardari will not be arrested,” a senior minister of Sharif’s cabinet told The Nation. He added that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed authorities to go soft on the PPP.

This development arose when the ruling party is engaged in a tussle with the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf over elections while at the same time seeking reconciliation with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

“The PM does not want confrontation with the PPP as they have been helpful in supporting the democratic system during the PTI’s protest spree,” he added.

Earlier, in a TV interview, Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari expressed his confidence in the ruling party. He termed his relation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as ‘excellent’, saying that he is in favour of the present government adding that the assemblies must complete their mandated tenure.

On Thursday, Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari directed his party to launch a strong protest and adopt a solid strategy against the arrests taking place in the party.

This was followed by a statement from PPP’s opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khurshid Shah, where he warned of waging a ‘war’ if Zardari was ‘targeted’.

PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman had earlier questioned the government’s intentions after non-bailable warrants were issued against top party leaders. Senator Rehman asked, “What type of message is being given to the PPP by carrying out ‘revenge attacks’ against us.” She argued that the PPP was being punished for its lead role in ‘war on terror’.

Previously, an anti-corruption court in Karachi issued non-bailable arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and senior PPP leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-rupee Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) corruption scandal.

While on Thursday, an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi remanded former petroleum minister and Sindh Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Asim Hussain to Rangers custody for 90 days. PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira in a press conference regretted that reconciliatory politics had damaged the party; however, it will not abandon its role to promote democracy in the country.

On Friday Sindh Information Minister Nisar Khuhro said that some forces do not want to see PPP government in the province. Khuhro doubted the government’s sincerity in eliminating corruption saying such actions are being taken in Sindh only.

The PML-N is already facing a tricky situation as they are getting ready to lock horns in upcoming by-elections with their rivals, PTI. The ruling party on Thursday declared that they will not challenge the Election Tribunal decisions that de-seated Sardar Ayaz Sadiq from NA-122 and Siddique Baloch from NA-154 and said that they will appear in the court of the public and let masses decide. On Friday, ousted Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq called on Prime Minister Sharif and “exchanged views on the prevailing political situation in the country.”

Sadiq was quoted as telling the premier that he will move the Supreme Court to clear allegations leveled against him but will not seek a stay-order on the NA-122 by-elections.

After the olive branch to the PPP, the premier will concentrate on appeasing the MQM who had resigned from the parliament to protest against the alleged victimisation of party under the umbrella of the Karachi operation.

MQM lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi told The Nation that talks between the government and his party had been encouraging hinting that the issue will be resolved soon.

However, the conflict with the PTI seems far from agreement as Imran Khan has challenged PM Nawaz Sharif to contest against him in Lahore from where Ayaz Sadiq was de-seat. In case Ayaz Sadiq loses, the National Assembly will have to elect a new Speaker. The government has already decided to wait for Sadiq’s re-election. Until then Deputy Speaker Murtza Javed Abbasi will look after the Speaker’s office.