Alvi’s mediation fails to heal govt-PTI rift

President meets PDM delegation; conveys govt's take to Imran

​ Our Correspondents December 15, 2022
Photo: Twitter


As PTI chief Imran Khan dials up the resolve to dissolve assemblies, the ruling coalition is hoping quiet negotiations with the former ruling party can take the sting out of the burgeoning peril before the window of opportunity closes.
However, despite the rare talks, neither side showed any appetite to thaw tensions on the 'sticking point' -- early elections -- as the political temperature continues to rise up.

The parleys – mediated by President Arif Alvi – are tempered by the backdrop of two sides publicly asserting polar opposite stances on snap polls.

Well-placed sources told The Express Tribune that President Arif Alvi filled in the PTI chief on the series of meetings he held with members of the ruling PML-N. However, the efforts have not yielded ‘any wins’ as both sides signalled their reluctance to concede their respective positions.

The development was also confirmed by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry who told The Express Tribune that the president held a meeting with Imran Khan and shared details of his meetings with the former prime minister.

Later, a senior leadership meeting reviewed the developments and concluded that the government had no intention to hold elections and therefore, PTI has no other way but to take to the streets and announce elections in provinces it controls.

In a meeting with the PDM delegation comprising Federal Minister Ayaz Sadiq and Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarrar, President Alvi was apprised about the centre’s take on the conditions set forth by the former prime minister.

The tete-a-tete with coalition government leaders at the President's House lasted for 45 minutes, sources said, adding that matters pertaining to the economic and prevailing political situation of the country and legislative issues came under discussion.

It was agreed that discussions on issues related to the dissolution of assemblies or the completion of the term of government shall continue.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, when reached out for a comment on the development, said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif believed in consensus and consultations “unlike propagandist Imran Khan who has proven to be a divisive corrosive force rather than demonstrating leadership”.

She added that this was at its most apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic and when sensitive national security issues and FATF were being debated.
“The country is moving towards economic and political stability as 99 per cent of the political parties are with a government consisting of majority representation,” she added.

The development came as PTI chairman Imran Khan said that he will announce the date for the dissolution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies on December 17.

“I have completed consultations with the party and we have decided that in a gathering at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk, I will give my nation the date for the dissolution of the KP and Punjab assemblies,” he said in an address to the nation.

Alvi in Lahore

Later, President Arif Alvi jetted off to Lahore on a three-day visit to hold what was being described as “last-ditch” talks in a bid to douse the political fire.

In his meeting with Imran Khan at his Zaman Park residence in the provincial capital, the president briefed the former prime minister on his meetings with the government and also discussed preparations to execute their plan of dissolving assemblies this month in case the talks failed.

During his visit, the president is also expected to meet Chief Minister Parvez Elahi to discuss the prevailing political situation and the dissolution of the assembly.

It is pertinent to note here that President Alvi has also held multiple rounds in Islamabad on issues related to elections, the economy and security with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. However, the discussions remain inconclusive as the government has rejected to hold talks with strings attached.

Meanwhile, PTI central leader Pervez Khattak has said that only President Arif Alvi can tell about what was being discussed with the government.

“I don’t know anything about the dialogues with the government. Only the president would tell you about the dialogues,” he said in his interaction with journalists outside Zaman Park residence.

He, however, stressed that the talks with the government will be held on the condition to discuss the date of the elections.

He further said that the date for the dissolution of assemblies was not yet decided and added that PML-Q was an important ally and was totally committed to the PTI.

“Imran Khan will announce the date for the dissolution of assemblies on Saturday. Only Imran Khan knows about the exact date of the assemblies’ dissolution,” he added.

He reiterated that holding polls was the only solution to pull out the country from the crisis.

‘Shoring up coalition'

Meanwhile, a delegation of MQM-P met PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari amid strong headwinds buffeting the ruling coalition in order to reinforce its unified approach to tackle the political tensions.

The delegation discussed the non-implementation of the agreement signed with the centre and the Sindh government.

The MQM-P’s delegation was led by its convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. Other party members included Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori and Waseem Akhtar.

The two sides expressed commitment to mutual consultation for the construction and development of the province.

Earlier in the day, the MQM-P delegation also met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and conveyed reservations over the non-implementation of the agreement signed with PPP and the centre.

Sources said that the delegation also protested against the PPP and bemoaned that the ruling party in the province was not keeping its promises. “If the Sindh and federal governments are not fulfilling their promises, then we will take our own decision,” sources said quoting the delegation.

PM Shehbaz assured the delegation of bringing up its grievances with the PPP.


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