Talks between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PAT] have hit a deadlock once more and on Tuesday JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman urged the Muttahida Qaumi Movement [MQM] to convince Dr Tahirul Qadri to extend his deadline to the government.
PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri gave a 48-hour ultimatum for the government to step down but he modified his demands after 25 hours with the addition of the registration of murder cases against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in connection with the Lahore Model Town incident. A delegation of MQM comprising Khalid Siddiqi, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghauri and Haider Abbas Rizvi had called on the JUI-F chief and agreed to continue their efforts for finding an amicable solution to the ongoing political stalemate in the country.
“We think that the MQM can convince Dr. Qadri and they should play a role,” spokesperson to JUI-F chief Jan Achakzai said with an admission that the MQM had already been making efforts to find a way out.
Talking about the meeting, he said that the MQM delegation had expressed their concerns. “There is convergence on one point that efforts should be continued to avoid any untoward situation,” he added.
Addressing the media, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said, “We will have to discard the tendency of forcing the government to resign through protests.” He said a judicial commission has been formed at the Centre to look into the Model Town incident besides the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms and therefore, there was no justification for protests. The JUI-F chief asked the MQM to convey to the other side that their demands have been met and they should end their protest.
MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui also emphasized the need for a resolution on the issue through mutual understanding. He said that his party would appeal to Dr. Qadri to extend his deadline.
Governor of Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar called on Governor of Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad to discuss current political crisis. The key purpose of the deliberations was to consult the governor of Sindh about a suitable strategy to address the crisis through dialogue. “We will try to negotiate with protesting leaders and government to resolve the issue amicably,” he said.
Chaudhry Sarwar plans to ask MQM chief Altaf Hussain to assist him in the negotiation process. He added that every political party has the right to protest, but this should happen within the purview of the Constitution.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2014.