Gandapur asks Shehbaz to engage with Imran

Breaking the ice, PM allows K-P CM to meet with PTI’s founding chairman in jail

News Desk March 13, 2024
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Wednesday. PHOTO: PID


In an ice-breaking development, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held a meeting with Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday in which he asked the prime minister to politically engage with his party’s founder Imran Khan.

Talking to reporters alongside Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal after the meeting at the Prime Minister House, Gandapur described his interaction with Shehbaz as “positive”. He said that he had requested the prime minister to lift the ban on visiting Imran and other prisoners in Adiala Jail.

Imran, a former prime minister, has been incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail over a host of charges ranging from corruption to terrorism. Earlier this week, the authorities placed a two-week ban on any visit to the PTI founder because of security concerns.

Gandapur said that he requested the prime minister to lift the ban on visiting Imran because he had to discuss the upcoming Senate elections with the PTI’s founder. He added that Shehbaz accepted his request and permitted him to meet with Imran in jail.

Gandapur said that during the meeting he asked Shehbaz Sharif – the president of the PTI’s main political rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – to “politically engage” with Imran Khan. “Such an engagement [between Shehbaz and Imran] will lead to a political solution,” Gandapur told reporters.

“This was my first meeting with the prime minister. Talks were held with the prime minister on the law and order situation as well as other public issues. The prime minister has assured me that the federal government would fully cooperate with K-P on these matters,” he said.

Also read: Imran warns of Sri Lanka-like situation in Pakistan amid spiralling inflation

The K-P chief minister added that Shehbaz had assured him that all the K-P’s dues would be cleared. “The prime minister has said that he would keep his promises. He also asked the officers to give us a timeline that was possible and what can be done within it.”

Speaking on the occasion, Iqbal also termed the talks between Prime Minister Shehbaz and the K-P chief minister positive, saying that Shehbaz had promised Gandapur that the province’s dues would be cleared by the federal government.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz had directed the finance ministry to discuss the matter of dues with the officers of K-P. “After the end of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] negotiations, there will be a meeting on the dues with K-P on [March] 19th.”

Iqbal, who is also a senior leader of the PML-N, added that Prime Minister Shehbaz had also issued instructions to address the difficulties, including gas and power outages, faced by the people in K-P during “Sehr and Iftar times”.

The minister continued that the prime minister had ordered the formation of a joint team of the Centre and K-P to work with the federal government to resolve the issues of the province. “Everyone has their own politics, but the state belongs to all,” he remarked.

In the meeting that lasted for over an hour, Gandapur demanded the appointment of a new chief secretary in his province and the release of its funds. He told the prime minister that he wanted Shahab Ali Shah as the new K-P chief secretary.

The meeting between Shehbaz and Gandapur is being seen as an attempt at reconciliation between the top two political rivals in the country – the PML-N and PTI. Shehbaz and Gandapur also discussed other matters during the meeting as well.


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