ISLAMABAD - After a few days break, the government team held separate meetings with PTI and PAT teams with no visible breakthrough; however, the parties decided to continue with the parleys to find some common ground.
The meeting between the government team and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders was held at the residence of PTI central leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, which lasted for well over two hours.
The government team was led by Ishaq Dar while Zahid Hamid and Abdul Qadir Baloch assisted him while PTI team was led by Shah Mahmood Qureshi with Dr Arif Alvi, Asad Umar, Pervaiz Khattak and Jahangir Tareen in attendance as team members.
After the meeting, Dar and Zahid left the venue without uttering even a word. Some half an hour later PTI team members Dr Alvi and Asad came out and admitted that there was no breakthrough in the talks and the only positive thing was that they decided to continue with the dialogue.
However, both Qureshi and Asad were optimistic. Qureshi said they were moving forward with a positive intention of resolving the issue. Asad Umar said they were expecting major development in the upcoming session of negotiations.
Sources in the government informed that the issue of prime minister’s resignation was the only irritant in the dialogue and both sides were not ready to show flexibility on the issue. They said that PTI leaders stressed that the working paper they had presented to the government team should be made the baseline for the negotiations and government should come up with its formal response on it.
According to sources, now both sides were pondering on some middle course where the PM’s resignation could be replaced with some arrangement that would render him (PM) irrelevant and incapacitated toward the Judicial Commission comprising apex court judges which would deal with the rigging charges in the 2013 general elections.
On the other hand, the govt team in presence of Political Jirga held meeting with PAT team at the residence of PPP Senator Rehman Malik and discussed ways and means to move forward on the 10-point charter of demands given by Tahirul Qadri. The meeting continued for well over three hours.
After the negotiations, government team member Ahsan Iqbal in a brief chat with media said that both sides have initiated discussion on the PAT demands and sounded optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations which he said would continue.
To a question he said he sees the glass of water half filled and added that they would be sitting on the negotiation table with open heart and mind and come up with some mutually acceptable solution to the problem. He further said both sides have decided not to make public the deliberations of their meeting and they would come to media after reaching at some positive conclusion.
PAT team head Raheeq Abbassi said they had resumed talks on the persuasion of the Political Jirga members and their party was not averse to dialogue provided it is meaningful and result-oriented.
The government team comprised Abdul Qadir Baloch and Ashan Iqbal while PAT team included Raheeq Abbasi, Khuram Nawaz Gandapur, Nasir Sherazi and Tariq Bashir Cheema. The Political Jirga members included Sirajul Haq, GG Jamal, Liaquat Baloch and Rehman Malik.
Earlier the same day the Political Jirga led by Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq held talks with the leaders of PTI and PAT to pave way for resumption of direct talks of these parties with government. Talking to media after the interaction with these parties JI Ameer Sirajul Haq said they were optimistic about the outcome of the fresh talks initiative as both sides were positive and forthcoming to resolve the crisis through meaningful negotiations.
Siraj said in his view they had achieved 70 percent of success but cautioned that the road to success was full of bumps and everybody have to be more careful while treading the path. Pinpointing the hurdles, JI Ameer said the bitter and provocative speeches by some of the ministers were creating problems in making the parleys a success while the issue of arrest of the PTI and PAT workers was also an irritant.
He expressed the hope that prime minister would take notice of it and facilitate the Political Jirga to resolve the issue. Siraj said both the sides believed in the supremacy of the constitution, the Parliament and democracy; time would soon come when the nation would hear good news.
PPP Senator Rehman Malik, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and GG Jamal also addressed the media and expressed their optimism of resolving the issue through negotiations. GG Jamal said major task before them was breaking the ice which the political Jirga had achieved and now they would be pushing both the sides to narrow down their differences by showing flexibility.
PAT leader Raheeq Abbasi signalled that his party would withdraw “unjust demands”. “We have put forth all demands before the political jirga. Tell us about unjust demands if there any... we would withdraw them,” Abbasi said while talking to media.