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JI chief meets Imran, Shehbaz to resolve impasse

LAHORE: In order to bring the warring parties closer to holding talks on the subject of elections, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq launched a “consensus offensive” on Saturday. He held meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI leader Imran Khan over the course of a few hours and received a “positive response” from both sides.

According to a JI press statement, Mr. Haq initially called PM Shehbaz before seeing Mr. Khan at their respective homes in Model Town and Zaman Park.

While party insiders view the meeting at Zaman Park as a significant step toward future consultations between the two parties, Mr. Khan stated that PTI is always open to debate within the bounds of the Constitution, just not with the dishonest and robbers of the nation’s resources.

Mr. Haq urged during their meeting that a committee be formed to forge a wider agreement for holding elections in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and finally the entire nation.

Siraj asserts that all sides have responded favorably to him, and he intends to meet Zardari after Eid.

Along with the alleged human rights abuses being done by the current PDM and Punjab caretaker governments, Mr. Khan also reviewed the political and security situation in the entire nation with the Jamaat chairman, who was accompanied by his chief of staff Senator Shibli Faraz.

Both parties concurred that regular consultations should continue.

According to sources in JI, Mr. Haq expects a breakthrough within the next two weeks and aims to meet with PPP leader Asif Zardari after Eid as part of his attempts to bring all parties to the negotiating table.

Earlier, during his discussion with PM Shehbaz, Mr. Haq stated that as prime minister, he was in charge of Pakistan’s 230 million inhabitants.

So, he continued, “The Prime Minister should come forward before the others with [an] open heart to seek a solution to the current crises.”

JI chief emphasized that Pakistan was experiencing political, constitutional, and economic challenges at the same time. He further stated that a conversation between lawmakers was necessary to find a solution to these issues.

He emphasized that the judiciary and establishment were not the appropriate places to address in order to break the political impasse. He argued that general elections should be a topic of the agreement for all parties.

Both Prime Minister Shehbaz and Imran Khan expressed appreciation for Mr. Haq’s efforts and pledged their full support, concurring that elections were the best course of action for the nation given the current economic, political, and constitutional issues.

According to the press release from the Jamaat, Mr. Sharif declared that the PML-N was prepared to work with the JI if the latter desired to take an active part in matters of national significance. He emphasized that everyone needed to overcome their stubbornness and exercise flexibility in order to reach a consensus.

Mr. Haq was joined during the discussions by the secretary general of JI, Ameerul Azim, and the deputy emir, Liaquat Baloch.

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