Another round of talks: PML-N, PTI fail to evolve consensus on sticking points

Both the sides show flexibility but three key issues remain unresolved

Qamar Zaman December 28, 2014


The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) once again fell short of evolving a consensus during the latest round of talks on the formation of a proposed judicial commission to probe alleged rigging in the 2013 elections.

Negotiators from both sides met behind closed doors on Saturday but failed to find a middle ground on the contentious issue.

“The PTI and government teams resumed their negotiations this morning. While some progress was made, there was no agreement on the outstanding core issues,” said a statement issued by PTI Information Secretary Dr Shireen Mazari.

“Both the teams have decided to go back to their respective leaderships’ and update them on the present status before meeting again on Tuesday,” added Mazari.

PTI’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen, who was part of his party’s negotiating team, admitted that both sides have shown flexibility, but said that the thorny “issues can be resolved in no time if the PML-N leaders want”.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who was part of the PML-N negotiating team, said that “both sides have evolved a consensus on most of the issues.”

On Friday, the two teams had developed a consensus on issues like constitution of the judicial commission through a presidential ordinance but they could not reach any conclusion over the three key points.

According to sources, the PTI has shown some flexibility on its stance regarding Terms of Reference (ToRs) but both sides could not agree over the scope of the commission’s findings.

Definition of rigging is also among the sticking points, sources added. The government says the commission should look into whether or not majority has been converted into minority, through systematic rigging in last year’s elections.

Earlier, talks between the two had hit a deadlock over the ToRs for the commission and PTI chairman Imran Khan had highlighted in his speeches that the government had reneged on its commitment after it came out of pressure.

The PTI had demanded that the commission should include officials from intelligence agencies – a condition not acceptable to the government. Moreover, the PTI had demanded of the government to set up the commission through an ordinance, which should submit its findings within 45 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2014.


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