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PTI, PAT agree to restart talks

* Sirajul Haq says they are ready to become guarantors between government and protesting parties

ISLAMABAD: The PTI and PAT late on Tuesday night agreed to initiate an indirect dialogue process with the government through a parliamentary committee led by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq. 
The government team would come face to face with the PAT and PTI teams as soon as the committee would prepare ground for it.   
The JI chief-led committee met PTI Chairman Imran Khan inside his container for at least 15-20 minutes. Imran assured the team that they could restart negotiations with his nominated team led by Shah Mahmood Qureshi. In the same coin, Qadri also nominated a body to talk to the parliamentary committee. 
“We are ready to become guarantors of the dialogue process between the government and protesting parties. And if such an agreement takes place, it will be open and spelled out before media. We are happy that both the parties have agreed to restart the stalled dialogue process,” Sirajul Haq told media after the two meetings. “We don’t represent the government, but people of Pakistan,” the JI chief asserted. 
“The government should forthwith release all the detained PTI and PAT workers across the country, and also food for the workers at the sit-in,” JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch said.   
“We have come here as representatives of joint opposition to defuse the present situation. The nation will soon hear good news…Imran Khan and Dr Qadri have formed separate committees and we are going to hold dialogue with these two committees tonight,” said PPP Senator Rehman Malik after their meeting with Imran and Qadri. 
The government’s negotiations with the protesting parties came to a standstill on Saturday after the riot police clashed with the protesters on their way to the PM’s House. Several protesters died and hundreds of them were injured during the clashes. 
On Sunday and until Monday afternoon, the protesters clashed with riot police and FC as Rangers and army troops remained stationed at sensitive installations, including Parliament House, Presidency, PM’s House, and other government buildings.      
Sources said Imran Khan did not reject the dialogue offer outrightly but complained to the committee that they had no authority to negotiate with him regarding the PM’s resignation. He also made it clear that he would not trust Nawaz and his ministers. The committee, however, asked him to keep the negotiation door open in the larger national interest, to which he agreed. However, as soon as the body members left his container, Imran came atop the container and reiterated his stance that he would not retreat until Nawaz resigns. 
“I will rather prefer to die if I fail, as I have vowed either it will be liberty or death,” he told crowds in a sentimental way. 
Earlier, the committee walked straight to Dr Qadri’s container to persuade him to re-start the stalled negotiations. But as the committee entered Qadri’s container, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain came out of the same container after meeting Qadri. “I hope the righteous stance will prevail…and things will get better,” Shujaat told media. 
Qadri explained in detail his charter of demands and agenda, emphasizing that the Punjab CM should resign as a first major step towards reconciliation. The JI chief-led committee comprised of JI leaders Liaquat Baloch and Mian Aslam; National Party Senator Hasil Bazengo; FATA lawmaker GG Jamal; and PPP lawmakers Senator Rehman Malik and Kulsoom Parveen. 

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