KARACHI – JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday telephoned MQM head Altaf Hussain and discussed the present political situation in the country.

Expressing concerns over the fast changing political climate, Fazlur Rehman said that the political turmoil on the election of candidates for the slot of prime minister and incidents of hooliganism in the Punjab Assembly would lead to a confrontation. He said that this should be avoided lest democracy could be harmed.

The JUI-F chief said if supported, he could emerge as a unanimous candidate. He also apprised Altaf Hussain about his negotiations with leaders of the PML-Q, and said that even the PML-N was ready to extend support to him.

According to Altaf Hussain, a sagacious approach is needed if democracy had to be kept intact. “Differences should be subsided and decisions be taken with far-sightedness; otherwise the continuation of democracy in the country might suffer,” he told the JUI-F chief.  He, however, assured Fazlur Rehman that he would convey his concerns to President Asif Zardari.

He also held out assurance to him that if there was an agreement on any name by all political forces, including the PPP, the MQM would not oppose that one.

IGP orders strict security for politicians, clerics: Sindh Police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Shah on Thursday ordered strict security for all politicians, religious leaders and other renowned social personalities, observing that a wave of violence had gripped the province, particularly Karachi.

The IGP ordered senior police officials to coordinate with the Rangers to intensify security across the province. He ordered that all-out measures be taken for protection of the citizens. The IGP also directed that special security arrangements be taken on Fridays.

The IGP Sindh also issued instructions to the supervisory staff for regular surveillance and monitoring.

He also asked them for patrolling and make the random snap checking further effective.

Mushtaq Shah said that there should be picketing at the main entry and exit points of the city.

The security at public places, bus terminals and educational institutions be improved further.

The IGP Sindh said that highway patrolling be made effective and coordinated.

He also instructed that arrangements be made for police flag march in the affected areas in the city where police personnel in plain clothes be deployed.