Flurry of activities by opposition to defuse tension

ISLAMABAD: The flurry of activities by the opposition parties continued in the federal capital to end the ongoing political crisis in the country, triggered by the protests of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The opposition parties led by Pakistan People’s Party’s Syed Khursheed Shah, who is leader of opposition in National Assembly, held a meeting of different political parties in his chamber on Tuesday. Although the mediation committee led by Syed Khursheed Shah has not been able to contact the PTI’s leadership so far, Shah said that they are continuing efforts to establish contacts with the PTI chief Imran Khan and Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri.
He said that the committee would proceed for talks as soon as it is invited by the leaders of the two protesting parties. He appealed to the PTI and PAT to refrain from any such step which could damage the unity of the country. About the PTI’s announcement of entering into the Red Zone, the opposition leader said the government had granted permission for the sit-ins in Islamabad on the guarantee of the opposition and Imran Khan had guaranteed in writing to not cross the red line and it will be regrettable if their supporters breached the agreement.
Shah said that political parties were trying to hold dialogue with PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri to control the tense situation. Speaking to the media outside parliament, Shah said political parties had not been able to reach out Imran and Qadri but were trying to hold a meeting by 3pm. Shah stressed that political parties wanted to save politics from a situation of confrontation and were determined to safeguard democracy. The opposition leader said that Imran Khan should review his decision to march to the Red Zone and respect the written agreement with the interior minister. “There should be no move regarding parliament and constitution which causes disgrace to Pakistan,” Shah said.
The other mediation team comprising of Haider Abbas Rizvi, Aftab Sherpao, Hasil Bazenjo and Ijazul Haq failed to meet Tahirul Qadri but was able to contact second tier leadership of PAT, lead by Rahiq Abbasi. The PAT leadership asked the opposition parties’ delegation to allow them to enter into Red Zone, which the delegation later conveyed to the government side. The PAT leaders, however, stuck to their demands of resignation of the prime minister and also demanded action against at least against those police officials who were involved in the killing of the PAT workers in Model Town, Lahore, on June 17.
Meanwhile, Senator Rahman Malik of PPP, tasked by party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, reached out to Fazlur Rahman of JUI-F and discussed the fast developing political situation in the country. Both sides held threadbare discussion on the political situation and agreed to give talks a chance to end the impasse. Fazl, however, deplored that PTI and PAT have closed the door of negotiations. He also backed the government’s decision to protect the key installations in the Red Zone, but admitted that holding rallies and sit-ins is a democratic right of every political party.
Rahman Malik also supported Fazlur Rehman and said that he has the democratic thinking to resolve the crisis. On the other hand Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq presented a four-point formula to resolve the political crisis. At a press conference, presenting his formula Siraj said that first, the judicial commission announced by Prime Minister Nawaz should finalise its report in 40 days. Secondly, the commission should take to task the people involved in rigging. Thirdly, army should remain neutral, and finally, all political forces should assemble again to find out a solution to the crisis. 

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