LAHORE - Participants of an all-parties conference held under the auspices of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) here on Wednesday urged the government and the PTI-PAT leadership to hold talks to bring an end to the seven-week sit-ins in Islamabad before Eid, which falls on Monday.

A declaration adopted at the conclusion of the moot said that any unconstitutional step, direct or indirect, would be resisted by the parties represented at the APC.

PML-N veteran leader Raja Zafarul Haq, PPP leader Rehman Malik, PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, Supreme Court Bar Association President Kamran Murtaza, senior lawyer Abid Hasan Minto, JUP leader Pir Ijaz Hashmi and ANP leader Ehsan Wyne were prominent among the participants.

Problems facing the country came under discussion and the speakers offered varying solutions thereto.

The declaration stressed the need for making the Election Commission of Pakistan a genuinely autonomous organisation. It also called for withdrawal of the inflated electricity bills.

In his address, Raja Zafarul Haq regretted that money had assumed greater role in politics, as a result of which it has become almost impossible for a poor man to contest election of any tier.

Factory owners, property dealers and capitalists are given importance in political parties as they are in a position to contribute more funds, he said.

He praised Mian Nawaz Sharif for allowing other parties to form governments in Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. Also, he said, that the Prime Minister treated all Chief Ministers alike.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that PTI believed in the supremacy of the Constitution and Parliament and an independent judiciary.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, he said, was leading a campaign for transparent elections, without which real democracy would not be possible.

The PTI did not want to derail democracy, Qureshi said, making it absolutely clear that his party would strongly resist any move to derail democracy.

He said his party wanted to sort out all differences through talks.

According to him, differences were still there on two points. However, he believed that with good intentions and a democratic attitude some solution would be found of the two issues.

He made it clear that Imran Khan would stay put in the container till his dream of a new Pakistan came true.

PPP leader Rehman Malik said all parties were duty-bound to protect the Constitution. Referring to the talks between the government and PTI-PAT leadership, the former Interior Minister said so far 41 rounds had been held.

He said at present all sides were pursuing their respective agendas although the situation demanded that Pakistan’s agenda should get primacy.

In his opinion talks would have borne fruit by now if the protesters had not been arrested.

He appealed to the PTI-PAT leaders to wrap up the sit-ins before Eid.

MQM leader Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi was critical of the authorities concerned who failed to implement Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution at the time of 2013 elections.  It was because of this failure, he said, that bank defaulters and those got their loans written off were sitting in the Parliament.

The MQM leader said in case the situation remained unchanged the nation would stay as slave to the feudals even in future.

He called for the creation of new provinces, but hastened to add that boundaries should not be redrawn on linguistic basis.

The participants raised ‘go Nawaz go’ slogans when Shah Mehmood Qureshi entered the venue.