Govt-PTI talks being facilitated for economic security

May 26, 2022

Informed sources said that during the recent weeks, there has been a regular contact between the neutrals and the two political sides to see the IMF talks successful

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Former PM Imran Khan (Left) and PM Shehbaz Sharif. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The neutrals’ resolve to stay neutral on political matters amid reports that their advice for Imran Khan, who is pressing them to side with him, is to go back to parliament and talk to treasury benches if he wants elections, as their main concern remains saving Pakistan from economic crisis.

Informed sources said that during the recent weeks, there has been a regular contact between the neutrals and the two political sides — the government and the PTI — to see the IMF talks successful.

Nawaz Sharif wanted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to resign on May 20 but he was requested through his party leaders by the neutrals to wait till the conclusion of IMF talks in Doha. Nawaz Sharif reluctantly agreed to this.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan was also approached through his party leaders to delay his Islamabad March till the outcome of the Doha talks. Khan had initially delayed his decision on the Islamabad March date but later gave May 25h as the date for his Haqiqi Azadi March.

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This was really upsetting for those who wanted the two sides to review the timing of their political decisions in the wake of the serious economic situation of the country. Earlier, the neutrals had also invited senior economists, including finance minister Miftah Ismail and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin, to get their support on the IMF talks in Doha. Here too, Shaukat Tarin, who was requested to support the government on the IMF issue, had refused to do so.

With the background effort of the neutrals, the ruling coalition representatives and PTI leaders met in Islamabad Wednesday but the interaction ended without any breakthrough. The two sides, however, will meet again to settle political disputes between them. The institution, source said, will only play the role of a facilitator for the purpose of economic security of the country.

PMLN sources claimed that the government was approached by the PTI through Ayaz Sadiq Monday to discuss the possibility of how the Islamabad March could be called off. It is said that Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Qaiser had approached Sadiq, who then contacted Nawaz Sharif for guidance. Nawaz told Ayaz Sadiq to tell the PTI that it was too late to discuss the March issue.

Meanwhile, the neutrals had also approached both the sides Tuesday night with a request that the two sides should sit together for a negotiated solution to their political disputes, which are causing political instability and furthering the economic chaos.

Wednesday morning, the two sides met. Yousaf Raza Gillani, Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Malik Muhammad Khan, Asad Mehmood and Faisal Sabzwari represented the coalition government while Pervez Khattak, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Asad Umar represented the PTI.

The talks, which are said to be in the initial round, had no breakthrough but it is expected that the two sides will meet again with the neutrals facilitating them. According to a PTI source in contact with the establishment, the neutrals’ advice for Imran Khan is to settle issues directly with the coalition government. It is expected that future talks between the government and the PTI will focus on return of the PTI in the National Assembly by withdrawing their resignations to have consensus decisions of the parliament on economic revival plan for Pakistan, electoral reforms, next election date and formation of a caretaker government.The PTI has been told that all political decisions will have to be taken by politicians themselves.

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