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Pakistani Winning Party Meets with Islamists to Build Anti-Musharraf Coalition

The party of slain former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is trying to convince Islamist politicians to build a stronger coalition against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

The leader of the Pakistan People's Party, Asif Ali Zardari, met with Islamist leader Fazlur Rehman Thursday to discuss the possibility of forming a government of national consensus.

The two sides planned to meet again Friday.

Islamist parties fared badly in Pakistan's February 18 parliamentary election, only holding onto about 10 general seats in the National Assembly.

Islamist politicians said Friday they would vote to strip the president of the power to dissolve parliament and abolish the National Security Council, which was formed by Mr. Musharraf to oversee Pakistan's government.

Zardari, the widower of Ms. Bhutto, is working to form a coalition with all political parties, except the president's supporters. The coalition needs a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly to impeach the president or limit his powers.

Friday's planned negotiations brought together groups with contrasting philosophies - the PPP, which has vowed to fight Islamic extremism, and Islamist parties, many of which sympathize with the Taliban.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.