ISLAMABAD - After detailed deliberations and consultations with key leaders of opposition parties, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted a five-member committee to hold talks with Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri.

The government committee comprises Abdul Qadir Baloch, Akram Khan Durrani, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Irfan Siddiqui. It would also keep in touch with the opposition parties to further the process of negotiations and find some negotiated settlement of the prevailing political imbroglio.

Syed Khursheed Shah, leader of opposition in National Assembly, in a reconciliatory effort also formed two mediation committees on Monday to arrange direct contact and dialogue with the leadership of both Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). The opposition committees would mediate between the government committee and PAT and PTI leaders.

It is expected that the emissaries would begin consultations with both parties on Tuesday (today).

“These committee would start working immediately and make all-out efforts to defuse tension and find some way for dialogue,” said Khursheed Shah, announcing the committees that would make last-ditch effort to avert any setback to democracy as a result of the ongoing political clash.

The committee which would approach PTI comprises him, ANP’s Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, MNA from FATA GG Jamal and one member from JI – most probably Sirajul Haq, Shah said.

He said nomination from the Jamaat Islami has been sought.

The second committee, which would reach out to PAT, comprises Shah himself, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, MNA Aftab Khan Sherpao, MNA Ijazul Haq and Senator Hasil Bazinjo from National Party (NP), Shah informed.

Sources informed that it was decided that the government committee would engage both Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in consultation and would also remain in touch with the negotiators from the opposition parties to facilitate the negotiation process.

A day earlier government had decided to constitute two committees which were to separately deal with PTI and PAT leadership but Khursheed Shah and JI Amir Sirajul Haq opposed the move saying that as both these parties had already expressed no-trust in the government, how they could sit across the table with the committee comprising federal ministers.

So, Shah called the Parliamentary parties heads meeting here at Parliament House to discuss the situation and constitute committees to deal with the matter. The meeting was attended by JI MNA Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, QWP chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, PML-Z chief Ejazul Haq, ANP leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, MQM leader Rashid Godail, NP chief Mir Hasil Bazinjo, FATA leader G.G. Jamal and PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar.

It was decided in the meeting that to make the negotiation process successful the committees comprising opposition parties’ members would contact the leadership of both PTI and PAT because in the face of mistrust and tension between the government and protesting parties the chances of any breakthrough in the negotiations were slim.

It was further decided in the meeting that PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai would play the role of focal person between the government and the committees comprising the opposition parties’ members. Sources in the opposition informed that they would exploit all channels including the ones already engaged in containing the soaring tension.

Sources informed The Nation that the committees comprising the opposition parties’ members were also having the complete blessing of the prime minister as Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah was in touch with him and it was mutually decided to constitute committees comprising opposition parties’ members.

Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and some religious scholars including Maulana Anus Noorani were already trying to convince the leadership of PTI and PAT to shun their demand of Premier’s resignation and sit across the table to get their genuine demands regarding the rigging in elections and electoral reforms met while remaining within the parameters of the constitution.