ISLAMABAD - The process of consultative meetings between the national leadership continued on Wednesday, while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif clearly reflected he is more in favour of handling the current political crisis constitutionally than using extreme force.
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq met Premier Sharif and advised him to show flexibility and come up with some solid steps to address the grievances of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf about the flaws in the electoral system.
After interaction with PTI chief Imran Khan, the JI leader along with party secretary general Liaquat Baloch and Mian Aslam visited the PM House and discussed with Nawaz the fast-changing political situation in the country. The prime minister was assisted in the meeting by federal ministers Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar, Kh Saad Rafiq, Pervaiz Rashid, Lt-Gen(r) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PM’s political secretary Asif Kirmani.
Sources informed The Nation that Siraj came up with some proposals to lower the soaring political temperatures and sought some solid steps on part of the government regarding electoral reforms. Premier Sharif gave him a patient hearing and said that he would discuss his proposals with his party leaders. He thanked the JI leader for showing concern for democratic order and supremacy of constitution and the parliament.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Muslim League-Zia President Ejazul Haq, Jamaat Ahle Hadis chief Sajid Mir and Fata MNA Ghazi Ghulab Jamal held separate meetings with the prime minister and discussed with him the political situation in the country. Premier Sharif took these leaders into confidence about the government steps for neutralising the situation and engaging PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in the dialogue process.
All these leaders advised Nawaz Sharif to avoid use of force and persuade Imran Khan for negotiated settlement of the issue. They hoped that sanity would prevail on the PTI side as well and they would avoid crossing the constitutional limits.
Sources aware of the JI chief’s meeting with the PM said that Sirajul Haq, besides asking for solid steps by the government to address PTI’s grievances, urged Nawaz Sharif to refrain from using force to quell the proposed Azadi march by Imran Khan, which he termed, his democratic and constitutional right. Siraj hoped that Imran would also avoid stepping out of legal and constitutional limits.
According to a press release issued by PM’s media cell, Premier Sharif stressed the need of unity among the political forces to save the system and respect the public mandate. He was of the view that the solutions to all the problems lies in democracy and constitution. He further said they would continue to respect the mandate of other political parties and have laid the foundation of democratic order in the country on democratic principles and not on hatred and personal vendetta.
Amir Jamaat praised the role played by the prime minister for strengthening of democratic order in the country particularly the honouring of mandate of other parties in the provinces. He also praised Nawaz Sharif for taking bold stance on Palestine and it was decided in the meeting that government would also participate in Youm-i-Palestine announced by Jamaat-i-Islami on August 17.
Earlier in the day PkMP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai meet with Sirajul Haq and gave him the message of Premier Sharif seeking his help in persuading Imran to show flexibility in his stance and resolve the issue at the platform of the parliament instead of streets.
Later in the day Siraj held a meeting with Imran Khan to have his input on the matter and after a detailed discussion over the situation with him, he met Nawaz Sharif with some proposals to resolve the imbroglio.
Government sources said that in the last couple of days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had successfully rallied support of political parties across the political spectrum and all of them have agreed that no unconstitutional step on part of any political party would be supported and everything including the protests and demonstrations should remain within the precincts of constitution.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the other day had also rang up former president and Pakistan People's Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and discussed with him the overall political situation in the wake of planned protests by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek.
PPP co-chairman had also advised Premier Sharif to look for a negotiated settlement of the issue and avoid use of force against PTI’s Azadi march on August 14.
Zardari said the collision between the government and PTI activists would imperil the incumbent political dispensation and could cause enormous damage to democracy for which all the political forces had paid a heavy price in the past, sources further informed.
He advised Premier Sharif to show extra flexibility to end the tiff with the PTI through negotiations, and also offered to play a role in this regard.