ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that the PTI government wanted to have a dialogue with the opposition, but the latter keeps on pushing for an NRO-like deal. 

“Dialogue will be pointless if its terms revolve round personal interests,” the PM said and questioned that what will be the use of a dialogue if they only have to give relaxation to opposition in graft cases. The prime minister was addressing the leadership of the allied parties of his government who were invited on a lunch hosted by the premier himself to take them into confidence on the present political, economic situation of the country in the wake of the opposition’s anti-government movement.

The gathering, that was actually a show of power of the coalition government led by ruling PTI to counter the PDM’s anti-government movement, hit a snag because Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), a major ally of the government, did not participate in the lunch. 

The PML-Q said that it did not participate because it had reservations with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government on different issues. 

Even the allied parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) who were participants of the gathering opened a plethora of complaints before the PM on different issues of governance and rising inflation, sources informed The Nation. 

Following their reservations and grievances, the Prime Minister said that all promises made with the coalition parties would be fulfilled soon and they would “see implementation soon”. 

“We are all united to make Pakistan better,” the PM was quoted as saying in the meeting.  

Talking about the opposition, PM Imran Khan said they were harming Pakistan. “The opposition is trying its best to blackmail me,” he said adding that all knew that he was not going to be blackmailed. 

The premier claimed that PTI and its allies would win the next elections on the basis of their performance in the next two-and-a-half years. He said that next general elections would be the most transparent one in the country’s history.

The PM said that his government was trying its best to tackle the rising inflation and prices of essential commodities. He claimed that economic indicators were improving rapidly contrary to the fact that the country was on the verge of default when they took power. He said that his government gave full attention to revive the economy of the country during its first two years in power and now they were focused on public welfare projects. 

He said that his government has prepared a mechanism to resolve issues of masses. 

Earlier, the allied parties took the opportunity to show their reservations and complaints about various problems they are facing. 

The official sources privy to the development said that coalition partners showed their grievances over the non-provision of development funds and for not undertaking new development projects in their constituencies.  

MQM and GDA showed their reservations about the provincial government of Sindh and said that the provincial government was ignoring their constituencies. They said the bureaucracy of the province was undertaking the development projects of federal government according to the wishes of PPP, the ruling party in Sindh.  

On the occasion, Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza complained that elected parliamentarians were being ignored in the federal government’s development projects. She said neither the federal government nor the Sindh government had undertaken any mega development project in Sindh. 

Pakistan Muslim League-Functional Pir Pagara also expressed his reservations in the meeting. 

The MQM-P showed his grievances about the non-implementation of the Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP) and said that the work on the plan was extremely slow. It also raised the issue of missing party workers. 

JWP leader Shah Zain Bugti raised the issue of recovery of missing persons in Balochistan. 

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan on the occasion said that hundreds of missing persons have been rescued in the last two years. The majority of the missing persons on the list maintained by Balochsitan National Party (BNP-M) leader Akhtar Mengal have reached home, the official sources said. 

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, key federal ministers, and Sardar Usman Buzdar, Mahmood Khan and Jam Kamal Khan — the chief ministers of Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively — were among the participants of the meeting. 

Earlier in the day, PML-Q leader and Federal Minister for Housing Tariq Bashir Cheema in a statement said that they did not attend the lunch because his party had reservations with the PTI government on different issues. Prime Minister Imran Khan has never included PML-Q in the consultation process despite his weekly visits to Lahore, he added. 

There is no use in attending the lunch if PML-Q is not important for the prime minister, he also said.