ISLAMABAD: If the government formally offers to hold talks over bringing in a caretaker setup for holding early elections, the usually stubborn Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will soften its stance and consider the offer.
“We will definitely talk. But for that we need to have a formal offer,” PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, in his inaugural address to the National Assembly, had invited the opposition to participate in a dialogue. But for the PML-N, this wasn’t enough. “So far it is just a vague offer,” Mushahidullah said.
The party spokesperson added, “We are ready to discuss issues including a caretaker set-up, the appointment of a Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and holding early elections.”
The CEC post has been vacant since the retirement of Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza and currently, Justice Shakirullah Jan, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, is the acting commissioner.
After the retirement of Mirza in March, former premier Gilani had initiated the process of consultation with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. However, the PML-N did not agree with the nominations.
Responding to a question, Mushahidullah, being mindful of what happened with the former chief executive, said that his party would adopt the constitutional and legal approach even if Premier Ashraf is disqualified as well.
The spokesperson said that if the newly elected prime minister is found guilty of contempt of court, his party’s offer would not stand.
Earlier, the Supreme Court disqualified former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for committing contempt of court. Gilani had refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities for reviving graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Mushahidullah also emphasised that his party was eager over talks on a caretaker set-up because “Prime Minister Ashraf will not be able to bring any change given the past four years of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rule.”
Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.
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