Close, but no cigar: Govt, PTI agree on all but two sticking points

Negotiators from two sides hold two rounds of talks.


Azam Khan September 09, 2014

ISLAMABAD:


Negotiators from the government and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) agreed on all but two sticking points as they met twice on Monday in a bid to break a debilitating political deadlock persisting since August 14.


“We have agreed on almost everything. Only two contentious issues remain. One of them is not negotiable for us,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is heading the government negotiating team, told journalists after a second round of talks late Monday.

Although Dar didn’t elaborate, it is believed that he was referring to the PTI’s demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the period a judicial commission investigates the alleged fraud in the 2013 parliamentary elections.

The two sides met at the residence of PTI senior leader Jahangir Tareen hours after their first meeting of the day. PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi led his side while the government team was represented by Ishaq Dar and Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid.

“We have conveyed our final position to the government side. They will get back to us after conferring with their leadership,” Qureshi said while appearing before the media with Dar after the talks. Last week, the two sides had exchanged written proposals for breaking the political impasse.



After the first round of talks on Monday, insiders claimed there was progress even on the trickier PTI demand for the resignation of Premier Nawaz and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab.

The two sides agreed to let the judicial commission, formed by the prime minister, to investigate the alleged electoral fraud, to do its work before pressing for the resignations of the Sharif brothers, a member of the opposition Jirga told The Express Tribune. The Jirga has been facilitating talks between the government and the protesting parties.

“If the commission establishes systematic rigging in the 2013 elections, then the entire PML-N government would have to resign,” he said.

On his part, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq, a member of the opposition Jirga, expressed optimism that the dialogue would yield positive results. “The responsibility lies more with the government,” he said, urging all stakeholders to take a step back. PPP Senator Rehman Malik, who flanked the JI chief, added that “sacrifice is the need of the hour.”

Another Jirga member Liaquat Baloch, who is also JI’s secretary general, said that the solution to the political logjam was above the resignation mantra. “Our mediation is very clear and we want to make such terms and conditions for the judicial commission which are acceptable to both sides,” he told The Express Tribune.

Senator Kalsoom Perveen, who is also part of the Jirga, said: “We succeeded in breaking the deadlock and now our role is that of facilitators.” She added that they haven’t come up with any new formula. “We only convinced both sides to soften their stances on contentious points.”

The government is holding parallel talks with PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) through two separate teams. The second committee, led by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, met PAT negotiators twice on Monday. However, the two sides refused to share what transpired at the meeting.

The JI chief told The Express Tribune that negotiations with both parties have entered a decisive stage where one could expect make or break very soon.

“Some positive developments have taken place during the past two days but the issue of the resignations of the Sharif brothers was the only bone of contention.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2014.

COMMENTS (8)

Haris | 7 years ago | Reply

Fake govt should resign or people should drag them out of parliament because they are even not elected. We have an occupied parliament.

Big Fat Liar | 7 years ago | Reply

So all the corrupt have been called out in the assemblies. Murderers and mobs in governance have found a common cause for uniting against the tides of people's will. Their paid minions and goons have been directed to invade electronic media and it's appalling to note their language of low intellect, poor IQs and subconscious racism. The parliament is on the run and all of Diesel's bosom buddies ready to jump ship. There's nowhere to run or hide. Your bigoted and hateful rants are nothing more than a manifestation of parochiality, primordial frustration and visceral fear. The people are coming for your heads. Beware.

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