The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will interact with the protesting Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) through opposition parties before entering into any direct dialogue with protesters.
Talking with The Express Tribune, Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch confirmed that government had decided to adopt an indirect approach instead of a direct dialogue.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a five-member panel, comprising Saad Rafiq, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Ahsan Iqbal, Irfan Siddiqi and Akram Durrani to facilitate the dialogue process.
“The prime minister has directed the cabinet panel to remain available to opposition committees and facilitate them in making a breakthrough with protesting parties,” he added.
The decision came after the government suffered a blow when opposition parties declined to be a part of negotiation committees, proposed after much delay.
After a meeting with heads of 10 parliamentary parties in his chamber, leader of Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah announced that opposition would form its own committees to arbitrate between the government and protesting parties.
Shah later formed two separate committees to hold talks with the PTI and the PAT.
The first panel will include Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Ijaz ul Haq, Hasil Bizenjo and Haider Abbas Rizvi while the second committee will comprise Khursheed Shah, G G Jamal, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and a member from Jamaat-e-Islami.
The government on Monday had announced that it would constitute two separate committees to engage the protesting parties in dialogue.
Under the government’s plan these committees would comprise members from government and opposition parties.
However, major opposition parties declined to be part of the government panels saying that they wanted to play their role as impartial arbitrators.
Khursheed Shah later told reporters that he would contact the PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and request him to delay submitting resignations of his party members to the speakers of their assemblies.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2014.