Islamabad: Former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif will co-chair the March 24-25 all-party conference in London, according to the head of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Parliamentarians.
The decision was jointly taken in a meeting here on Monday between the leaders of the PPP Parliamentarians and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Makhdoom Amin Fahim said.
In a compromise worked out at the meeting, all constituents of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) will be invited while the PML-N will host the moot.
Fahim said all issues had been resolved and it was agreed to include some more points on the proposed agenda of the conference in consultations among the leadership of the two component parties of ARD.
He said a joint declaration would be finalised ahead of the conference and it would be conveyed to the participating parties along with the invitations.
Separately, a central PML-N leader, Nisar Ali Khan, said the party had accepted all demands of PPP and Benazir should have no hesitation regarding her participation in the conference.
He said formal invitations would be sent from London in the coming days. PML-N leaders say the conference would give a forceful direction to the struggle for genuine democracy in the country and enable the opposition to take collective stand on how the next general election due this year can be made fair and free.
The government however considers the planned gathering in London a futile exercise.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Durrani said yesterday it would be an "agendaless" conference. "The proposed conference is a vague undertaking aimed at spending the looted money," Durrani told reporters.
This gathering in London had "no relevance" for the people of Pakistan and it would have no impact on the country's politics.
Durrani advised the participants to fly to London as that, he said, would help the national airlines financially.
The minister however said the government would welcome any suggestions from the opposition within the purview of the country's constitution on ways to ensure a free and fair general election.
On its part, he said, the government was committed to absolutely fair ballot as it regarded rigging a sort of "political terrorism".
Durrani vowed that the Election Commission was discharging its functions ably in accordance with the constitution.
He rejected allegations of rigging in some bye-elections held in Sindh province earlier this month. Durrani said the opposition wanted to fuel confrontation whereas the government wanted dialogue and a peaceful environment for holding the polls.