Sunday June 23, 2024

Situationer: Govt talks offer to Imran mere eyewash

Now when the PTI is ready for talks with ruling PDM coalition, the latter is showing no keenness despite its public statements

By Ansar Abbasi
March 25, 2023

PTI Chief Imran Khan photographed on January 27, 2023. Screengrab of a Twitter video.
PTI Chief Imran Khan photographed on January 27, 2023. Screengrab of a Twitter video.

ISLAMABAD: Now when the PTI is ready for talks with the ruling coalition, the latter is showing no keenness despite its public statements.

In his recent address to the Upper House, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called for unity to tackle the challenges Pakistan faces. The same day Imran Khan in a tweet said that he was ready to “talk to anyone” and “render any sacrifice” for the sake of the country’s uplift, interest and democracy but nothing has moved on the ground as yet.

PTI senior leader and spokesman Fawad Chaudhry, when approached, confirmed to The News that no one from the government or the establishment had contacted Tehreek-e-Insaf for talks. He said that in a recent meeting with the delegation of journalist-dominated civil society, Imran Khan responded positively to attending an all parties conference that the civil society proposes to convene.

When asked if there is no pre-condition of the PTI attached for the talks, Fawad Chaudhry said the civil society’s APC agenda is to resolve conflicts surrounding elections.

In the backdrop of Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to delay the April elections in Punjab and hold the same on Oct 8, 2023, the law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar Thursday said the coalition government was ready to hold a grand political dialogue if the PTI Chairman Imran Khan showed his willingness to bring the political temperature down.

“Imran Khan should not pave the way for the third option and send two people from his side, while two people from the coalition government will sit together to discuss things,” he said while addressing a press conference here.

The law minister lamented that during the four-year tenure of the PTI, they did not try to mend fences with the opposition.

But despite these public statements, the government has not yet formally contacted Imran Khan or the PTI. Instead, despite such rare reconciliatory signals from both sides, the political temperature is on the rise and furthers the gap between the two sides. On the one hand, there is a sharp rise in the registration of cases against Imran Khan and, on the other hand, the PTI has become violent and its supporters have been seen attacking police and law enforcement personnel with petrol bombs and stones.

While Lahore police attacked Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence, the PTI protesters set ablaze and destroyed many police vehicles and motorbikes in Islamabad and Lahore.

During the last few years, politics has turned into hatred and enmity but it is now becoming violent. Such dangerous trends, it is believed, can only be reversed through dialogue between the two sides. However, it is not happening.

Previously it was Imran Khan who had been refusing to talk to his political opponents. During his rule, he did not sit with the opposition even once. Imran Khan’s attitude was criticised then but now Shehbaz Sharif-led PDM coalition is not ready to talk to the PTI chief.

Of late, Asif Ali Zardari, while explaining that negotiations could be held between politicians and parties, said that Imran Khan is not a politician. Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that he knew that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was a ‘fraudster’ but he never knew that he was a ‘terrorist’ too. “I neither saw a fraudster nor a terrorist in Pakistan’s politics like him,” the former prime minister was quoted as saying. These statements from the topmost leadership of the ruling coalition are in sharp contrast to what Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently offered in the Senate of Pakistan.