ISLAMABAD: A delegation comprising Pakistan Muslim League-Zia chief Ijazul Haq and Haider Abbas Rizvi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) met with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri on Wednesday to end the prevailing political crisis, but the talks remained inconclusive.
Qadri categorically rejected the impression that he is against the negotiation process and emphasised the need to resolve the ongoing political impasse. “I have never refused to hold negotiations; but there should be a mechanism for holding dialogue,” he stated. Commenting on the speeches made by the legislators on the floor of parliament in Wednesday’s session, the firebrand cleric spoke harshly for those legislators who raised their voices in favour of democracy.
“Why could these legislators not see dead bodies of the martyrs?” he asked. “Is opening fire on 100 humans, which resulted in the death of 14 and injuries to 90, a fair practice in the present democratic dispensation?” he queried sarcastically. Qadri said he and his party believe in the rule of law, supremacy of constitution and parliament. Speaking on his reforms agenda, the cleric stuck to his demands of dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies, formation of a national government to undertake immediate democratic reforms and immediate resignations and arrest of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over the Model Town killings.
A four-member government delegation made a first direct contact with Qadri and appreciated PAT’s willingness to engage in result-oriented talks. Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Ejazul Haq, Lt (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Haider Abbas Rizvi were members of the delegation. The delegation was informed by the leadership of PAT that first it needs consultation with allied political parties to take them into confidence before starting a formal dialogue process.
Talking to media Khawaja Saad Rafique said that differences exists in politics and it does not mean that the two sides are enemies of each other. He said dialogue will lead to the solution of problems. The minister said complaints of PAT regarding shortage of water and food access to the participants of the sit-in at the Constitution Avenue have been addressed.
As he told his supporters that there was no headway in parleys with the government as yet, Tahirul Qadri told the sit-in gathering of his workers and devotees that he would keep on pressing for justice for the Model Town clash victims “and social and economic injustice imposed on poor masses by the rulers”. “We believe in dialogue, reconciliation, democratic norms, rule of law, supremacy of constitution and parliament and human rights, but rulers’ intentions are not trustworthy.”
He said the marchers are waiting for revolution and want a peaceful Pakistan. “I want participatory democracy in the country and installation of a national government for democratic reforms, as the system cannot be changed without bringing revolution in the country,” he stressed. Qadri also raised questions about the democratic practices prevalent in Pakistan where he argued poor and underprivileged were deprived of justice. “If the developed world is enjoying the fruits of democracy, why are Pakistanis being deprived of it?” Qadri questioned.
Delivering a speech outside the Parliament House while the National Assembly was in session and the prime minister had just entered the House, the cleric commanded his supporters to lay siege to parliament, make hostage all those inside it and not allow anyone to enter it till the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But, later, he allowed legislators to enter the National Assembly. At the same time, he appealed to his diehard supporters not to resort to vandalism or violence besides advising them to maintain sanctity of the National Assembly. staff report/daily times monitor
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