The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement reiterated on Monday that the legitimate demands of the protestors should be accepted on condition that democracy is not derailed.
Former interior minister Rehman Malik along with Sindh minister for information Sharjeel Memon, Senator Sabir Ali Baloch and Senator Maula Buksh Chandio visited the MQM headquarters to discuss the current political crisis.
After an hour of consultations behind closed doors at Nine Zero, the leaders of both parties addressed a press conference and insisted that the political crisis can only be managed through dialogue.
According to Rehman Malik, former president and PPP’s co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari has formed a committee of party members to hold consultations with various political parties and defuse political tension.
“The political parties we have met want to preserve democracy. But we can’t afford chaos and confrontation at this stage because it could trigger martial law,” he said.
Nevertheless, Rehman Malik added that some democratic principles – such as the right to protest – cannot be compromised.
He added that the PPP has completed deliberations with other political parties and will present a report over the next 24 to 36 hours to Zardari. The former interior minister said that the focus on the Azadi and Inqilab marches had led people to ignore the plight of the displaced persons in North Waziristan.
“We should fully support the army and also not forget that one million displaced people need our assistance.”
MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the government must engage in dialogue to end the deadlock. He added that they have told the government to closely examine the demands of the opposition parties and find an appropriate solution.
In a statement issued on Monday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain asked the PTI chief Imran Khan to reconsider his decision of marching towards the ‘red zone’. Altaf said that differences do exist in politics, but urged to solve them on discussion table.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2014.