ISLAMABAD - The MQM and JUI-F are resisting government efforts to broker a compromise to allow PTI legislators to keep their seats in the National Assembly.

The parties’ leaders are insisting that 33 PTI legislators 33 PTI legislators who resigned last year in protest at alleged ballot rigging should be forced to stand down. They later withdrew their resignations and the government believes they should be allowed to remain for the sake of democracy.

Negotiations between the government and the rebels are continuing but PML-N MPs claimed yesterday that the hostile attitude of PTI leader Imran Khan had undermined the attempts to find a compromise. Khan has used foul language against his opponents and taunted them that his party would defeat them in fresher elections if they are expelled from the parliament.

PML-N sources said that JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman has told the prime minister the motion could be withdrawn if Khan apologises for deriding the parliament as ‘fake’ during his party’s protests over alleged vote-rigging in the 2013 election. But it could not be set aside while the PTI continued to “make a mockery of the system.”

PML-N sources said a four-member team led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had failed to narrow down the differences between the leadership of MQM, JUI-F and PTI to pave the way for the amicable solution.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad and Speaker NA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Tuesday also attempted to convince MQM and JUI-F to withdraw their motions but both parties insisted to go with the voting.

A JUI-F source said t Maulana Fazlur Rehman wanted an amicable solution and had given tacit indication to withdraw the motion on certain conditions, but the PTI leadership had demanded the unconditional withdrawal of moves to deseat them. PML-N sources said the party could somehow manage the JUI-F leadership on the issue but the government’s fierce reaction to MQM leader Altaf Hussain’s ‘hate-speech’ at the weekend had made it almost impossible to find common ground. However, the rest of the political parties were standing with the government on the issue.

One federal cabinet minister said that government was desperate to avoid any legal battle on the issue in the superior courts but did not risk going beyond the constitution to favour PTI MPs.

The option of voting with the PTI MPs to defeat a deseating motion would be a last resort.