ISLAMABAD - The powerful military establishment played its role in ending the apparent deadlock in the country and succeeded in brokering an unwritten agreement between the rival political parties and none other than Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was its guarantor.
Well-placed official sources in the federal government divulged Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif played a key role in paving way for a major breakthrough between the government, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
The official sources said assurances had been taken from all sides that they would stick to each term and condition of the unwritten agreement.
The military establishment has got the assurances from both the protesting parties, PTI and PAT that their protest would be peaceful and they would not hold sit-in in Islamabad and peacefully disperse after holding the rallies. These assurances came as a result of the other day’s meeting of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and COAS General Raheel Sharif.
PTI has given the assurance to the government that it will not hold a sit-in in Islamabad and avoid paralysing life in the capital. The PTI chief would withdraw its demand of immediate resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and restrict himself to the verification of election results of some constituencies.
As a result, the ruling PML-N has also given some assurances to the government, including complete electoral reforms and opening of election results of as many constituencies as PTI will demand.
In their two-hour-long meeting with the COAS, all these assurances were taken from PTI and PAT and the army chief is the guarantor from both the sides. He will ensure that no side deviates from their commitments. According to the sources, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif discussed the political situation and the marches of PTI and PAT.
Some defence analysts are of the view that this has also dispelled the impression that the army was behind the present political turmoil. The sources privy to the development claimed that things had been settled and after that the federal government immediately allowed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT) to stage their protest freely. Some announcements are also expected from the federal government during this week, the sources claimed.
They also claimed that protesters would neither stage a sit-in in Islamabad nor would they create law and order situation while the government would facilitate them.
According to the sources, both the leaders, Shahbaz and Nisar, were in contact with the prime minister during the meeting with the COAS. They conveyed the wish list of Imran Khan to the PM and a final decision was taken after the approval of Nawaz Sharif.
Later, both of the leaders called on PM Nawaz Sharif and personally apprised him of the consultation with the army chief.
The sources claimed that Imran Khan who was not ready to accept any offer less than the PM’s resignation, would leave Islamabad peacefully while PML-N would be still holding power at the Centre.