ISLAMABAD: In a surprise move, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) reached out on Sunday to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) just ahead of forming the new government at the Centre and three provinces, inviting their leaders to Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony.
A PTI delegation, including former K-P CM Pervez Khattak, Speaker of the National Assembly-in waiting Asad Qaiser, Fawad Chaudhry and Omar Ayub Khan met outgoing Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.
Parliamentary leaders of all political parties were invited to attend the oath-taking ceremony, a PTI press release said.
“The purpose of the meeting (with) Ayaz Sadiq is to invite PML-N leaders to attend the oath-taking ceremony,” the statement said. “PTI attaches importance to forging working relations with PML-N and other parliamentary parties.”
Later, Ayaz Sadiq told reporters that the PTI team had extended the invitation to attend the oath-taking ceremony without elaborating if PML-N leaders would attend. He said that PTI leaders had also assured cooperation in redressing opposition’s reservations regarding general elections.
They also assured to cooperate for smooth parliamentary proceedings in addition to resolving controversies over the July 25 elections, he said.
PML-N sources said on Saturday that Sadiq discussed the matter regarding attending the PM’s oath-taking event with PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore. The former Punjab CM, it is learnt, had expressed willingness to allow party leaders to attend the event. Insiders said that a final decision in this regard would be taken after Shehbaz met Nawaz Sharif in Adiala Jail.
“Shehbaz is positive … he does not favour boycotting the oath-taking ceremony. But a final decision will be made after taking the matter up with Nawaz,” said a PML-N MNA-elect, requesting anonymity.
Shehbaz, sources said, was willing to develop a workable relationship with the new PTI-led coalition government at the Centre and in Punjab, but the elder Sharif believed that the opposition should not allow new government to settle down.
A meeting between the two Sharifs is expected on August 17.
Separately, a PTI delegation comprising Asad Qaiser, Shafqat Mehmood, Fawad Chaudhry, Omar Ayub Khan and others met veteran PPP leader Khursheed Shah.
Later, Fawad Chaudhry told media persons that PTI delegates had requested Shah to withdraw his name from the race for the NA speaker in Qaiser’s favour.
Shah reportedly conveyed to members of the PTI team that withdrawing his name at this stage was difficult, but he hinted that PPP lawmakers might ‘quietly’ support PTI’s nominee during the election for the speaker of NA.
PPP, he said, would support crucial legislations in the larger national interest. He said that parliamentary forces should play a positive role inside the parliament, instead of resorting to street agitations.
Sources told The Express Tribune that PPP had confirmed that its parliamentary leaders would attend the PM’s swearing-in ceremony. This, sources said, had been decided in a meeting between Shah and PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari.
Shah and former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani met Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence in Lahore on Saturday.
The inaugural session of the National Assembly has been summoned on Monday for swearing-in the MNAs-elect.
Sources said that the PTI was also poised to form governments in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.