ISLAMABAD          -        Another round of talks between government and the opposition on Tuesday failed to break the logjam with both sides sticking to their positions making the political situation of Islamabad edgier as JUI-F-led sit-in of opposition parties entered its sixth day.

However, both sides agreed that they were ready to find a middle ground to end the deadlock.

The government’s negotiation team headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and opposition’s Rehbar Committee under the convenorship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani met for second time in less than two days to find out a way to end the ‘Azadi March’ sit-in in Islamabad.

After the meeting, Khattak told reporters at a joint press conference that both the sides stuck to their respective positions and added: “We are trying to find a middle ground and talks will continue till end of the deadlock.”

Both sides had met on Monday for the first time since the JUI-F-led Azadi March had entered Islamabad on October 31 and camped on a main highway of the capital thus crippling life of citizens.

Khattak, a senior leader of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that they wanted to find out the solution in a manner that on one side, opposition wouldn’t lose its dignity but on the other hand, the government’s self-respect should also be taken care of.

He went on to say, “Government, in the meeting, agreed to several demands put forward by opposition and that talks will continue on rest of the proposals after consultations with the leadership of two sides. We talked in a good atmosphere and meeting of the committees will continue till end of deadlock,” he said without giving details of the demands upon which the government had expressed its agreement.

Opposition’s Akram Durrani told the press conference that opposition on Monday had put forth its four demands before the committee that included Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation, fresh elections, no role of Army in the conduct of next elections and complete supremacy of the constitution. “They talked to their leader on these demands and today got back to us,” he said adding that opposition was sticking to its stance. He added that they wanted to find a middle ground to find the solution.

Separately, Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, who was part of the meeting from government side, said after the meeting that they were hopeful of a breakthrough in government-opposition negotiations.

Parvez Elahi, who on Monday night along with Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) President and former prime minister Ch Shujaat Hussain had met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, responding to a question, said that good consultations had been held in meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Rehbar Committee and “more time is required for making a headway.”

About JUI-F’s demand to introduce Islamic provisions in the constitution, the speaker Punjab Assembly said that there was complete consensus in this regard and there were no two opinions on it. He said if both sides agreed to bring electoral reforms, the agreement would be made public. About resignation of PM, he said that this “matter would come under discussion later.”

In addition to that, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday in a meeting with the government’s negotiation team empowered it to hold negotiations with opposition on all matters. The PM was quoted as saying in the meeting that he was prepared to accept all ‘valid’ demands put forth by opposition except his resignation, said official sources.

During the meeting, Khattak informed the PM of last night’s meeting with opposition’s Rehbar Committee.

PM Imran stressed that government team should respond in a positive manner if the opposition shows seriousness towards reaching a consensus.