Pakistan's ruling party in crisis negotiations

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 29, 2010 10:27

 
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ISLAMABAD  — Pakistan's US-allied ruling party is scrambling to keep its fragile coalition government in power as its senior leaders meet with two dissident political partners, urging them to rejoin the Cabinet.

The Pakistan People's Party-led government faces a crisis with the secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement party quitting its two cabinet posts but remaining in the ruling coalition for now, while the Islamist Jamiat Ulema Islam party defected to the opposition benches in recent days.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, a senior PPP lawmaker held crisis meetings with MQM and JUI leaders late Tuesday, urging them to support an increasingly unpopular government.

JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman's spokesman Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said Wednesday their party would only return to the government if Zardari sacked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

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