ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government was happily surprised to receive a green signal from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Tuesday afternoon to kick start the fourth round of dialogue process that was gridlocked following disagreement over PTI demand that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resign and proceed on leave.
The latest initiative comes after behind the scene effort by the military establishment paving way for the government and PTI-PAT to find a solution to the crisis without waste of more time. “The nerve centre of the Pakistani government along the Constitution Avenue should be functional before the end of this week,” sources quoted garrison’s quarters as government prepared to implement a Supreme Court direction to clear the same road for traffic movement. Still, there was no government intention to use force as the twin march leaders feared a looming crackdown on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the fourth round of government-PTI talks that got started on Tuesday evening saw PTI moving one step backward by demanding that PM Sharif should only proceed on leave without resigning from his office. The government side which is till date refusing to consider PM’s resignation or proceedings on leave by terming it non-negotiable, however, told the PTI delegation to come up with some workable answer on Wednesday after noon. Sources said the government was still trying to convince the PTI to give up PM’s resignation or leave demand as both could agree on some guarantees from the military establishment for this purpose.
“Ishaq Dar can become substitute of PM Sharif for 30 days,” PTI’s ally Sheikh Rashid was quoted as telling close aides as PTI Chief insisted that he would agree on nothing short of PM’s time bound resignation. “The crisis can be resolved within 48 hours,” Federal Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq told Daily Times. “There is frustration in the PTI camp too as the whole campaign enters 13 th day and crowds dwindle in the PTI camp. Party Secretary General Jahangir Tareen was questioned by Chief Imran Khan as to where the divine (garrison’s) help was?,” a PTI leader said on anonymity.
Earlier, both parties had an agreement on five points of the PTI regarding elections 2013 fraud allegations through an apex court Commission, election reforms etc in the third round of talks. But both sides got gridlocked on the final and sixth point over PTI demand that the PM should resign for 30 days time till Supreme Court Commission come up with its findings. Sources claimed that it was the PM-Army Chief meeting on Tuesday that finally ended the stalemate. Though both sides stuck to their stated positions, the government sources said with the background help of garrison and required guarantees something could be worked out by Wednesday evening. The concession from government’s side for both PTI and PAT could be time bound resignation or proceeding on leave of the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and registration of PAT’s FIR on the Model Town killings.
“We met here to initiate the dialogue process…we will meet on Wednesday at 2 pm…but our positions remain the same,” stated PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi after a meeting with PML delegations led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar – the most important confidant of Prime Minister Sharif. “The two sides are till now sticking to their positions. But we have a resolve to resume the negotiation channel and meet tomorrow (Wednesday),” Federal Minister Ishaq Dar told media briefly after meeting PTI leaders at a local hotel.
The government side was led by senior minister Ishaq Dar, and federal ministers, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Zahid Hamid, Pervaiz Rashid, Khawaja Saad Rafiq. The PTI side was led by Shah Mahmood Qureshi and comprised Javed Hashmi, Jahangir Tareen, Arif Alvi, KPK Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and Asad Umar.
As he reached back to the party’s sit-in venue at the Constitution Avenue an excited looking Shah Mahmmod Qureshi told crowds from the stage that some good things could be in the offing. “We want the Prime Minister to sacrifice his ego for the sake of saving then democratic dispensation,” he asserted besides a smiling Party Chief Imran Khan. Meanwhile, MQM and Jamaat e Islami continued with their efforts to find a middle ground between PTI-PAT and the federal government all day long on Tuesday. MQM delegation met Maulana Fazlur Rehman. MQM side was trying till filing of this report to convince PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to extend his 48 hours deadline to the government which was due to expire on Wednesday (today) night.
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