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Friday June 21, 2024

Ruling allies 'disagree' over talks with PTI

PPP's Bilawal says closing door for talks is against his party's principles and "undemocratic"

By Waqar Satti
April 18, 2023
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders from left to right: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. — APP/File
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders from left to right: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. — APP/File

A meeting of the members of the ruling coalition held on Tuesday to mull over talks with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), following the Jamaat-e-Islami's (JI) bid to bring both sides to the negotiation table, ended without reaching a consensus, sources told Geo News.

The alliance of 13 political parties — known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — met in Islamabad after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif convened a meeting to discuss the political situation and the JI's efforts

During the meeting, a disagreement took place among the parties in the coalition government over holding talks with the opposition party as some believed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan could not be trusted, while others insisted that political forces should not shut channels for negotiations.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stressed holding dialogue with the opposition, with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Balochistan National Party, Balochistan Awami Party, Chaudhry Salik, and Mohsin Dawar backing him, sources said.

The PPP chairman said closing the door for talks is against his party's principles and "undemocratic".

"It is the need of the hour that the path of dialogue be adopted and the country taken out of the crisis," Bilawal said.

But representatives of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) rejected Bilawal's opinion and said that it isn't in the coalition's interests to hold talks with the deposed prime minister — who was ousted from the office via a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly in April last year.

"Imran Khan isn't a political force; we oppose holding dialogue with him," the JUI-F opined, while JWP's Shahzain Bugti said that his party did not oppose talks but "Imran is a liar".

Bugti added that the PTI chairman is "untrustworthy".

PM Shehbaz, FM Bilawal meeting

PPP Chairman Bilawal also called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Radio Pakistan reported. Bilawal apprised the premier of his ministry's affairs.

The two leaders discussed the country's political situation during the meeting.

'Be a bridge, not a wall'

Separately, leaders of the PPP and the MQM-P called for a dialogue among political parties to bring political and economic stability.

Senior PPP leader and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani said politicians should "play the role of a bridge, not a wall". He addressed the media alongside fellow party leaders — Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar and Adviser to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira — and MQM-P leaders in Islamabad.

"The PPP wants to make a conducive environment for dialogue among the political parties as we believe all problems being faced by the county can only be addressed through dialogue," Gillani added.

He said the PPP would approach the JUI-F in this regard.

Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Abu Bakar said his party would support the PPP to strengthen the country's democracy.

'No negotiations with Imran-led PTI'

Meanwhile a day earlier, PML-N leader Javed Latif said that while the majority of the party leadership is in favour of holding negotiations with "second-tier" PTI leadership, including Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pervaiz Khattak, it is against talks with the "miscreant in Zaman Park".

"Negotiating with a miscreant like Imran Khan, who is responsible for causing unbearable price hikes, rampant poverty, and economic destruction, is not in the interest of Pakistanis," he said at a press conference in Islamabad. 


— Additional input from APP