LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has formed a three-member committee to persuade the alliance’s main political parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), to engage in dialogue with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
According to PPP, a three-member committee comprised of former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, Syed Naveed Qamar, and Qamar Zaman Kaira was formed to interact with coalition government allies in order to establish an agreement on dialogue with all political parties.
The decision to form a committee was made during a core committee meeting of the party on April 7, during which the party emphasized the importance of holding dialogue with all political parties and decided to approach coalition government parties to persuade them to take a joint position on the issue of dialogue.
The statement issued during the April 7 meeting, as well as the statement issued for the formation of this three-member committee, however, confined the committee’s Terms of Reference (ToRs) to engaging only the allied parties and not PTI.
PML-N and JUI-F, the government’s main coalition partners, have previously ruled out any talks with PTI, accusing them of being a terrorist organization. During recent allied parties’ meetings, Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) smaller constituent parties, particularly those from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), recommended Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to de-escalate the situation and forge a way out of this quagmire.
A cabinet member from the allied Balochistan party stated that they had asked PML-N not to take the country to the point of no return.
He claimed that in the past, opposition parties had never attempted to de-escalate the situation because it was assumed that those in authority were responsible for ensuring smooth sailing. With all the stars aligned in its favor, PML-N was taking a very undemocratic stance that would eventually be counter-productive for the entire country, he noted.
According to one committee member, the group met with the leader of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Federal Minister Shahzain Bhugti, during the first phase.
It was advised that all surviving political parties would be engaged for the purpose within the next two to three days.
The goal of this exercise, according to Special Assistant to Prime Minister Kaira, was to persuade all associated parties to consent to the possibility of conversation.
He stated that communication was the only way out of the current political crisis for the sake of the country.
When asked about PTI’s demand for elections, PPP leader stated that polls would be held eventually and that demand might become the basis of conversation. However, he underlined that the next stage would be to hold a dialogue with PTI, and the first stage would be to persuade coalition members to agree to a dialogue.