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Saturday July 13, 2024

JI efforts bear fruit as govt, PTI 'agree' to sit at negotiating table

PM Shehbaz says political parties should sacrifice their ego and come towards a national consensus

By Ansar Abbasi
April 15, 2023
(L to R) Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — PID/INP/AFP/File
(L to R) Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — PID/INP/AFP/File

The ongoing political crisis being faced by the country is expected to see a breakthrough as arch-rivals Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government have expressed willingness to sit at the negotiating table, well-placed sources said Saturday.

In view of the worsening economic and political crisis in the cash-strapped country, Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq initiated efforts to bring the PTI and the ruling alliance to the negotiation table.

As part of its efforts, a three-member delegation of the JI — led by Haq — held separate meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan today.

During his meeting with the PM, the current political situation in the country and the judicial crisis were discussed. The leaders agreed that issues should be resolved with the collective wisdom.

Sources privy to the matter said that the meetings remained highly successful as both sides agreed to sit at the negotiating table to end the months-long confrontation, which badly affected the country's economy and the masses.

The PTI chief and his party have been holding protests since their ouster in April last year and are demanding early elections, which the government has persistently denied.

The PTI dissolved Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in its bid to force the government to hold countrywide elections, but the Shehbaz-led administration did not budge.

But the situation took a turn when the Supreme Court ordered holding the polls in Punjab on May 14. However, the parliament rejected the verdict, leading the judiciary and government to lock horns.

In a statement, JI Secretary Information Qaisar Sharif confirmed that the JI emir held two important meetings in Lahore today.

A three-member delegation of the JI headed by Haq and comprising Liaqat Baloch and Ameer Ul Azim met PM Shehbaz at his Model Town residence and Khan at his house in Zaman Park.

“The JI had decided to contact the political parties to build a consensus for holding elections on the same day,” he added. “The country cannot afford any chaos at this time,” he said, citing Haq.

Giving details about the meeting between the JI delegation and the premier, the secretary of information said that PM Shehbaz was of the view that the political parties should sacrifice their ego and come towards a national consensus.

“The prime minister said that his party will cooperate if JI wants to play a [mediatory] role,” he added.

Both sides agreed to continue meetings and include other parties too in the process, the JI leader added.

He maintained that the JI delegation also met the PTI chairman at his Zaman Park residence during which the latter appreciated the former’s efforts.

The two sides agreed to continue contact after the Eid ul Fitr.