LHC verdict tops agenda in PM's meeting with allies.

ISLAMABAD -- Hours after the Lahore High Court (LHC) announced a significant decision on the election of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) top leadership and discussed ways and means to handle the situation.

According to the PM Office, PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari called on the prime minister and discussed the current political situation. The meeting was also attended by senior PML-N leaders.

A source in the PPP told Dawn that the LHC verdict was discussed and all participants agreed with the minority view in the decision, i.e. 'how the vote of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) dissidents will not be counted in the recount of votes' and that the Constitution has no such provision.

However, PPP expressed full support for Hamza Shehbaz and hoped that he will win again in the re-count.

Coalition partners ask how dissidents' votes can be discarded in recount; PM lauds Chinese support

Mr Zardari, who is said to be a 'bonding force' among allies in the ruling coalition, also discussed concerns of coalition partners and urged the PM to address them.

Earlier, the prime minister held separate meetings with the leaders of some allied parties including Khalid Magsi, chief of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Chaudhry Salik Hussain of PML-Q and Aslam Bhootani.

Chinese delegation

Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan stood ready to work closely with China for realising the shared vision of connectivity, prosperity and public well-being.

'Pakistan will continue to support Chinese investors with competitive incentives, access to high-quality infrastructure and unwavering security arrangements,' he said in a meeting with Yang Jiechi, Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of its Foreign Affairs Commission.

Extending a warm welcome to Mr Yang, the PM conveyed the most cordial greetings and best wishes for President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

The prime minister noted that Director Yang's visit marked the continuation of high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China, which are the hallmark of the time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

He recalled his extensive conversation with Premier Li in May, during which both leaders had reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and exchanged views on the regional and...

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