PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday demanded a “clear response” from the ruling coalition and warned to take to the streets if negotiations turned out to be an “exercise in futility” after two senior members
of the federal cabinet publicly voiced their opposition to the government’s talks with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
PML-N leader Javed Latif and the defense minister Khawaja Asif both made statements opposing discussions with the opposition party on various grounds. In response, PTI stalwart issued a warning.
The administration has already referred to Imran Khan’s demand for the dissolution of the parliament by May 14 as “impractical,” while the latter has up till this point not demonstrated flexibility in this respect. The third session of discussions, which is likely to be the final one, is scheduled to begin today (Tuesday).
The negotiations, which were initially supposed to start at 11am, have been moved to 9pm, according to a statement made by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, who is presiding over the conversation.
Additionally, the National Assembly session that was supposed to take place on May 3 has been moved up and will take place at 2 PM today (Tuesday).
No discussions with ‘terrorists’
Javed Latif, a close ally of party leader Nawaz Sharif, called the former ruling party “terrorists” in a statement to the media on Monday. He also added that discussion cannot be started with the party.
“In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any conversations with terrorists or spies working against the government. Talking to (PTI head) Imran Khan is comparable to compromising on national interests, according to Mr. Latif, a federal minister without a specific role.
He said that a conversation centered on the desires of “someone” should never take place. “We should never hold negotiations with the beneficiaries of the global powers,” he stated. The minister reportedly made reference to a Supreme Court ruling from April 20 in which the court requested to hold dialogues with the political parties.
Mr. Latif claims that Nawaz Sharif, the party’s supreme leader who has been living in self-imposed exile due to health issues since 2019, would not allow his party to participate in elections without him.
The minister also criticized the leadership of his own party for failing to oppose the establishment in 2015 while a “conspiracy was being hatched” against Nawaz Sharif. “The current situation would not have developed had we stood up in 2015,” he asserted.
Separately, Mr. Asif claimed that while the government wanted the elections to take place on schedule, in October, Imran Khan was desperate to hold the elections before the chief justice’s retirement and referred to the talks facilitated by Ishaq Dar as an “exercise in futility”.
The leader of the PML-N stated that he was against negotiations with Mr. Khan because he was “confused” and would change his mind in a few days. He claimed that Mr. Khan was anxious for elections because he wanted them to be overseen by his brand-new “facilitators.”
The defense minister had advised Imran Khan to quickly take to the streets so that these “talks” might come to an end the day before.
Warming from PTI
PTI leader Qureshi warned that the party was prepared for “elections” as well as street rallies, if necessary, after the two PML-N ministers opposed the negotiations.
At a Labour Day rally in Rawalpindi, he told reporters, “We will not let the government and its allies fool the people in the name of negotiations and they will [need to] give us a clear answer about the elections in the third round of negotiations.”
He criticized the two PML-N leaders for obstructing the continuing discussion as the talks entered their third round. If negotiations break down, he said, PTI would go before the electorate after informing the Supreme Court of the outcome.
The Supreme Court will make the decision when I present our negotiation attempts to it, he threatened.
PTI leader alleged that Khawaja Asif and Javed Latif had turned conversations into a burden. “We want a solution to the issues as we are political and democratic people, and we do not shy away from negotiations,” he said.
Although Maulana Fazlur Rehman is the president of PDM, PTI leader claimed that PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, who is close to Nawaz Sharif, was prepared for negotiations.
After discussions with Imran Khan during the second round of negotiations, Mr. Qureshi disclosed that his party had made a proposal regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies. “I want Dar Sahab and his team to respond to the proposal in a clear manner. They requested time to review it.”