ISLAMABAD - Stalled talks between the government and the leadership of PTI and PAT are set to resume in days to come, but with no marked change in their declared stance, particularly on the PM’s resignation.
Sources aware of behind the scene developments taking place on this front informed The Nation that both sides, on the hectic persuasion of Political Jirga members, have at least agreed to resume the stalled negotiations possibly next week or so.
A source in Political Jirga was, however, not much optimistic about any major breakthrough even if the negotiations resume.
To a question, he said that the government has expressed willingness to resume talks with PTI and PAT leaders on issues minus resignation of Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab. On the other hand, the leadership of PTI and PAT is not ready to be flexible on this demand.
They would be comfortable if Prime Minister steps down for a period during which the vote audit of a few constituencies is accomplished by the Judicial Commission comprising judges of the apex court.
The sources in Political Jirga informed that in their previous meeting held at the residence of Senator Rehman Malik soon after Eid it was decided that the Jirga members would meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before their interaction with the PTI and PAT leadership to go for a final attempt to break the impasse.
The sources in Jirga admitted that almost all the matters between the government and protesting parties were resolved except the PM’s resignation.
A source in ruling PML-N privy to the meetings of government team with PTI negotiation team and members of Political Jirga, informed The Nation that resignations of Prime Minister or Chief Minister Punjab were not on the negotiations table and in case of talks resumption there would be no flexibility on this particular point.
On the other hand, the protesting parties, which have changed their mode of protest and alongside their sit-ins in front of the Parliament, have started holding big public rallies in major cities of the country, are not ready to accept anything less than the segregation of PM from his office during the vote audit.
The sources in PTI denied the claim of the government that all the matters with PTI and PAT except the PM’s resignation were agreed upon adding that both sides have yet to finalise the terms of reference of the proposed Judicial Commission comprising the apex court and the mode of verification of rigging charges in the 2013 general elections.
To a question, these sources said that they are open to negotiations and have never denied talks with government but as their party Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the dialogue should be meaningful and result-oriented.
These sources said that they believed that in the presence of Prime Minister in the saddle the fairness of vote audit could not be ensured, so the party would insist to at least separate the PM from his office for the period of probe into the PTI pointed out constituencies.
On the other hand, Political Jirga chief Sirajul Haq was of the view that dialogue was the only way forward and could get the country out of this quagmire.
Siraj, the Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami, said that they have also suggested some proposals to the stakeholders to resolve the issue and hoped that both sides would give due consideration to their proposals to land at some common ground to rid the nation of the hangover of prolonged sit-ins.
He believed that both the sides have to show flexibility on their hardened stance in order to be able to resolve the issue and hoped that for the sake of the nation and future of democracy both sides would soften their stance.
Senator Rehman Malik, a member of Political Jirga, was of the view that it was their role, which averted a clash-like situation between the government and protesting parties.
He said it was all due to the efforts of Political Jirga that the protesting parties staging sit-ins before the Parliament House had cleared the passage of the Parliament and vacated its lawns and also expressed his optimism to break the stalemate in negotiations.