Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led government has conveyed to PTI Chief Imran Khan through Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leaders about its willingness to open at least 10 National Assembly constituencies for recounting or vote verification – five each of PTI and PML-N’s choice, it has been reliably learnt. These include four constituencies of the National Assembly being demanded by Imran Khan for recounting and voter verification for the last many months. A constitutional or administrative mechanism could be worked out to ask the Election Commission to initiate such an exercise of voter verification and recounting, the government side feels.
But the PML-N side has categorically conveyed to the PTI it won’t consider any demand regarding holding of mid-term elections as asked repeatedly by Imran Khan, it was reliably learnt. The government camp after closed door consultations between Prime Minister and his officials and unofficial advisors felt that succumbing to mid-term elections demand, may in early or later part of the year 2015, would rock its boat badly, it was learnt. Despite estimates that initiation of pre-August 14 march talks were difficult at this juncture due to the hardening stance of Imran Khan, the government has conveyed to initiate direct talks with Khan at the earliest so that a broader understanding could be reached and chances of any clash or chaos could be minimized, federal ministers Ch Nisar Ali Khan and Khawaja Saad Rafiq reportedly told the Jamaat-e-Islami delegation comprising Secretary General Liaquat Baloch and Mian Aslam in a meeting at the Punjab House.
Both sides however remained tight lipped after the meeting about the contents of the government response to Imran Khan’s demands conveyed through JI Ameer Sirajul Haq on Wednesday. “We can’t divulge details of the government proposals for the sake of secrecy, but will urge both sides to initiate dialogue at the earliest to avert any chaos,” JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch told media after the meeting. He said they would convey government proposals to their Ameer Sirajul Haq and discus the same with other political leaders.
Talking to Daily Times an important federal minister said on anonymity that the unseen forces and lobbies of vested interests were pressurizing Imran Khan not to engage in talks with the government, and go for a show down on August 14. “We seriously suspect that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and PML-Q leadership combined with Dr Tahirul Qadri were not letting Imran Khan the course on negotiations,” he feared. Interestingly, Both Rashid and Dr Qadri have publicly stated that if PTI took and back step or engaged with the government at this point of time, it would amount to ruining the whole anti-government campaign. Dr Qadri has already asked workers of both parties to ditch that leader (Imran or Qadri) who deviates from the current path to remove the Sharif led dispensation.
PML-N sources said that was the reason why the Sharif led government in an apparent snub cum contempt to Dr Tahirul Qadri led Pakistan Awami Tahreek and his PML-Q allies, offered no such direct political talks or rapprochement to these political opponents whom ruling party big wigs are these days terming as “anarchists” having no real stake in the system and representation in the Parliament.
“We want to draw a clear wedge and maintain a distinction between PTI and PAT. We knew Dr Qadri and his allies were more than willing to join PTI’s long march on August 14 and unleash hardened political workers to create a mess in Islamabad that could lead to chaos,” said a top Sharif strategist on anonymity. “PM Sharif himself suspected there may a secret plan to join PTI and PAT forces on August 14. But said it still remains to be seen whether some hidden elements from the garrison are behind any such move,” a political leader who met Sharif the other day informed on anonymity. “We had credible reports that Dr Qadri wanted his workers to create unrest and engage law enforcement agencies on August 10 and 14. And the process has already started in Lahore where PAT workers are carrying out a systematic and pre-conceived clash,” informed an important federal minister on anonymity.
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