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Zardari Expected to Announce Grand Alliance on Benazir's Death Anniversary

Karachi: Pakistan’s former President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to announce a grand alliance of opposition parties tomorrow when he addresses a rally to commemorate the death anniversary of his wife, slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Asked about media reports that he was working towards forming a grand alliance against the Nawaz Sharif government, Zardari on Monday told reporters here that he will reveal his further course of action on December 27.

The former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson, who returned to Pakistan on Friday after 18-months in exile in Dubai and London, met with Pakistan Muslim League-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Tuesday, setting tongues rolling about a possible alliance against the government.

Zardari indicated that a situation could develop for early elections, with Lahore the hub of any changes. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has already called on the government to accept four demands of the party or face a grand movement.

Hussain, a former prime minister, said democracy was in danger under Sharif’s leadership and a grand alliance of opposition parties was the need of the hour to save democracy.

“We will not let democracy be hijacked,” he said. Sources said Hussain and Zardari have discussed the common points on which opposition parties can unite against the government.

Zardari has reportedly talked about reviving the PPP in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province and presently a stronghold of the ruling PML-N party.

Zardari, who is slated to return to Dubai this week, is also being put under pressure by the establishment as on the day of his arrival, the paramilitary rangers carried out raids at the offices and residence of his close ally and friend Anwar Majeed who has now been charged in absentia for corruption and under anti-terrorism laws.

In October 2007, a deadly attack on the motorcade and procession of former prime minister Bhutto, who had returned home from a self-imposed exile after nine years, had killed around 160 PPP activists.

Source: News18