ISLAMABAD - Although on face of it the government and protesting parties’ leaders are at loggerheads, yet behind the scene serious efforts are under way to resolve the standoff and, besides senior ruling party leaders, some key figures of other mainstream political parties are making hectic efforts to make some way forward through negotiations.
In the light of background interviews and information gathered from sources in government and other political parties, efforts to resolve the issue had been started even before the start of both the marches from Lahore.
Sources in ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) informed that the party was tackling both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek separately and at different levels. The government is a bit soft toward Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf while PAT would be treated with little harshness because rulers considered them as non-entity in the national politics.
However, on humanitarian grounds the activists of both the parties staging sit-in in federal capital would be provided with civic facilities, food and preliminary medical facilities at same level. Premier Sharif has constituted a four-member committee to take care in this connection. A source in the government feared that as both PTI and PAT have failed to bring protesters in big number in the federal capital and their chances to stage a prolonged sit-in are grim owing to harsh weather and inadequate preparations. So the chances of both these parties indulging in some unconstitutional moves to create law and order situation in the city have increased. When asked what type of unconstitutional move these parties could take, the sources said that they could attempt to break into the Red Zone as hinted at by PTI Chairman Imran Khan in his address to the protesters. In such a situation where the demonstrators would attempt to cross into the areas where security was declared red alert, the forces would be left with little choice but to use force to frustrate their move.
Sources in the government informed that the main task of engaging both these parties in dialogue was assigned to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who in aide with some of his trusted members in the party was busy consulting the leadership of other political parties to help resolve the political imbroglio through negotiations. When asked about the focal persons playing the role of a bridge between the government and the protesting parties, sources said that PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Governor Punjab Ch Mohammad Sarwar, Jamaat-I-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq and some PPP leaders including leader of opposition in the National Assembly are prominent among those playing prominent role in diluting the tension.
Sources in ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) said that the party leaders with Jamaat-e-Islami background including Kh Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal, Mushahid Ullah and others were in constant touch with JI Chief Sirajul Haq and the leaders with same background in PTI like Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Mahmoodur Rashid and others to lower the soaring political temperatures.
Sources further informed that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who has cosy relations with both Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party was also busy furthering the cause through his channels. A cabinet member said that the government is ready to listen to all demands of PTI, which are within the parameters of the constitution, while they would not listen to any of the undemocratic voice of both PTI and PAT.
Earlier, Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has shown extra flexibility to accommodate some, what constitutional experts said, unconstitutional demands of Imran Khan by writing to the Supreme Court to constitute a three-member commission to examine the rigging charges of PTI.
Sources further said that to stop PTI from some adventurism, efforts to bring Imran Khan on negotiation table in a next day or so are under way and hopefully some breakthrough would be made soon. Both the sides would likely revise their demands to land at same page and resolve the issue through negotiations.