ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has sent an assurance to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that it will not resign en bloc from the parliament despite differences with his government on many issues, political sources said yesterday.

“The PPP won’t go to this extreme level even when it is finding itself to be the government’s target,” a close aide of the premier told The Nation citing background contacts. Other opposition parties, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, have used this option to pressurise the government to accept their demands.

The PTI has returned to the assemblies after months-long agitation but the MQM quit only last month and is still adamant that it will not reverse the decision until the government stops the ‘discriminatory attitude.’ Statements from PPP veterans, Rehman Malik and Khurshid Shah hinting at resignations shocked the Nawaz government as he battled with the PTI and the MQM. On Monday, PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari summoned Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to Dubai to discuss the ongoing political situation especially in the province. The PPP leaders said the CM along with provincial ministers Sikandar Mandhro and Murad Ali Shah had flown to Dubai. The former President has also asked Farooq Naek, Faryal Talpur and Sohail Anwar Sial to attend the meeting.

The issue of Dr Asim Hussain’s detention, a bone of contention between the government and the PPP, would be discussed in the meeting.

Last day, senior PPP leader Senator Malik had said, “The PPP will consider resigning from national assembly at a party meeting (to be held in Dubai).” Opposition leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah also gave an identical statement. But PPP spokesman Senator Farahtullah Baber played it down saying, “This is not a party policy. The PPP had opposed resignations by the PTI and the MQM. I am not aware of any such decision of the party.” The PPP and the PML-N have been fierce rivals in the past playing roles to topple each other’s governments in the 1990s. The previous government led by the PML-N in 1999 was, however, overthrown by General Pervez Musharraf.

Thereafter, the PPP and the PML-N signed the Charter of Democracy on May 14, 2006 in London. The document, signalling a loose alliance between the two significant political parties of Pakistan, outlined steps to end the military rule established by the 1999 Pakistani coup d’état led by General Musharraf and restore the civilian democratic rule.

The PML-N also became part of the PPP-led government in 2008 for a brief stint keeping in view the same agreement. They parted ways but have still been supporting each other against ‘undemocratic steps.’

But last week Asif Ali Zardari unleashed an attack on the elected government saying Prime Minister Sharif had not learnt any lesson from the past and was repeating the confrontational politics of 1990s.

The aggressive position came after the authorities arrested Zardari’s close aide Dr Asimf Hussain, a former minister, and warrants were issued against senior PPP leaders, Yousaf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.