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Azadi march: PTI and PML-N inching closer to agreement

09 September, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The PTI and PML-N government on Monday inched closer to an expected agreement that both sides hope could be reached within the "ongoing week", as disagreements still persist on some key points being thrashed out by the two sides.

Both sides held two rounds of talks, the latter commencing midnight Monday at the residence of PTI's Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen. Talking to media persons after the meeting, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that both sides have shown flexibility and agreed upon various issues. He said that there still are issues which need further progress. Qureshi said that "we want to enhance the democratic structure more than before and we also want to end the current deadlock but there is still a gap on the core issues between two sides".

On Monday, the government committee headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and comprising minister Zahid Hamid, did not brief media persons and went to attend the joint sitting of parliament. PTI's negotiating team included Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen. On the other side, government committee comprising of Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Minister of State and Frontier Region Abdul Qadir Baloch meet PAT President Raheeq Abbasi and Khuram Nawaz Gandapur at PPP Senator Rehman Malik's Islamabad residence.

Raheeq Abbasi told media persons after the meeting that that the PAT has presented legal and constitutional demands over Model Town incident to the government committee and asked for justice over the incident. Ahsan Iqbal told media after the meeting that talks with PTI and PAT would prove successful and results are expected during the current week. He said that important developments have been made to end the current deadlock. The ongoing sit-ins, he said, were damaging the country's image internationally as foreign delegations were cancelling their visits.

The minister asked PTI and PAT to call off their sit-ins immediately as their protest had been registered and they should draw their attention to the affected people of devastating floods in the country. Ahsan Iqbal said that "we believe in the continuation of democracy and would prefer talks to end political turmoil", adding that "we would prevent every move to sabotage the peace talks". The government is holding talks with both PTI and PAT for the settlement of ongoing political issue and if the leadership of these parties show serious attitude, the talks will be successful, he said.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Chinese Foreign Office confirmed that the visit of Chinese president was delayed due to the ongoing political situation in Pakistan, which negated the PTI's chief Imran Khan's claim that the visit was not scheduled at all. Ahsan urged the PTI chairman to first verify the news and then give any statement, as being a national leader it was his responsibility to talk sensibly. To another question, he rejected the question of resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz, adding that parliament, civil society and lawyer community had unanimously termed the resignation of the PM as unconstitutional.

Rejecting Imran Khan's repeated allegations of electoral rigging, Ahsan Iqbal said the general elections 2013 were the most monitored in the country's history. Besides local media and other institutions, the polls were observed by international media and organisations, including European Union observers, who declared that elections were free, fair and transparent.

Meanwhile a political jirga headed by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, and comprising former PPP interior minister Rehman Malik and Liaqat Baloch met PAT delegation headed by its President Raheeq Abbasi, and Khuram Nawaz Gandapur. Sirajul Haq said that political jirga had played a successful role to end the deadlock between government and protesting parties.

Haq said that talks were gradually moving forward and any side which shows flexibility will get more points from the nation, adding that there should be face saving for all sides in the deal. "We are hopeful and pray that three sides will succeed in striking a deal on the issue," he said. Rehman Malik stressed that all the sides needed to demonstrate patience and sacrifice. "We should think beyond our political interests," he said. Malik said that government has made some progress regarding demands of PTI.


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