The seventh round of roller-coaster negotiations between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a team of government negotiators produced a glimmer of hope as the political deadlock entered the 17th day.
The talks were held at the residence of PTI Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen in Islamabad. The government negotiators included Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Zahid Hamid and SAFRON Minister Abdul Qadri Baloch, while Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi, Asad Umar, Pervaiz Khattak and Jahangir Tareen represented their party at the talks.
Negotiators from both sides drove out of the venue without talking to media, triggering speculation about the outcome. However, PTI vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi later told a news channel that his party gave a set of proposals to the government side which were almost accepted.
The proposals include the formation of a committee comprising 4-5 experts, re-constitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), completion of investigation by a judicial commission formed by the prime minister within a month.
One government negotiator Ishaq Dar, who is also federal finance minister, also struck an upbeat tone. “The PTI gave us a seven-point charter of demands. We’re working on that and hopefully there will be deal on these demands,” he said, adding that the PTI and government legal experts were finalising the agreement.
“The talks continue and we will share the discussion with Khan Sahib [Imran Khan],” Qureshi said while leaving for the dharna site. It was learnt that another round of talks would be held in coming hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2014.