MMA, Musharraf may meet to resolve contentious issues
* Shujaat calls meeting ‘a last ditch effort’ to end political stalemate
* Blames MMA for deadlock in government-opposition talks
ISLAMABAD: The government’s chief negotiator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Monday the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) might meet President Pervez Musharraf to negotiate on contentious issues.
“But this (meeting) would be the last resort (to end the political stalemate),” he told a group of journalists at the headquarters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA). Mr Shujaat, who is the PML-QA president and parliamentary leader in the National Assembly (NA), said the MMA leadership was responsible for the deadlock in the talks. He said a unanimous constitutional package would be presented to the president for approval. Asked whether the government would prepare the package, he said the government would work on it with the MMA.
Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid had claimed on Sunday that the government and the MMA had reached an understanding on the dispute over the president’s uniform, the National Security Council and Article 58(2)b of the Constitution. Mr Shujaat, however, refused to comment on the statement. The PML-QA leader hoped that the government and the MMA would resolve their differences. Asked whether he would invite the leaders of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Mr Shujaat parried the question by saying, “We are playing honestly and sincerely.”
He said the government would summon the NA session regardless of the status of the negotiations with the opposition. He refused to comment on the opposition’s threat to disrupt the functioning of the House till the settlement of contentious issues of the Legal Framework Order (LFO) and the president’s uniform.
Asked for comment on the deteriorating position of the PML-QA in the provinces because of power conflicts between provincial presidents and other leaders, he said the central leadership would convene a meeting of all “stakeholders” during the week to resolve their differences. When his attention was drawn to the fact that provincial presidents, including his cousin, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, were violating the Political Parties Order 2002 and the PML-QA Constitution by holding both party and public offices, he said, “The meeting will settle all the matters.”