Final round of Govt, PTI talks over elections to be held on May 2


ISLAMABAD, APR 28 (DNA) — The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government and the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are set to hold the ‘final’ round of talks on May 2 (Tuesday) after the former ruled out the possibility of a deadlock between the sides.

Following the second round of talks held on Friday in Senate’s Committee Room the two sides decided to consult with their top leadership and allies over the proposals presented during the meeting.

Both delegations were hopeful of concluding on Tuesday, but PTI warned that the talks could ‘derail’ at any point if the law enforcers keep arresting its workers.

PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said they had placed their suggestions before the government. “However, it is to be noted that 33 PTI activists at PTI chief Imran Khan’s appearance before the IHC were arrested without any pliable reason,” he added.

He went on to say that arrests would sabotage the process of negotiations. “If you want matters to settle, arrests must be stopped,” he added. PTI leader Farrukh Habib, he said, was barred from travelling abroad.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the media after the meeting that talks incepted with the mention of arrests of PTI activists. “We will travel to Lahore tomorrow and will take Mr Khan into confidence,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Azam Nazeer Tarar and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq along with PPP’s Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani and Syed Naveed Qamar are representing the government.

Following the conclusion of talks today, Dar said each side had tabled two proposals, which would be presented to the government and PTI leadership. “Some progress was made today”, he said, adding that the talks would resume on Tuesday at 11am for a “final round” of the dialogue.

While the talks were under way, the negotiating teams had taken a short, with Dar telling the media that the session would be resumed after 15 minutes.

When they were returning to the Parliament House’s committee room number 3 — where the meeting was held — reporters asked Chaudhry whether they contacted PTI Chairman Imran Khan during the break, to which he replied in the affirmative.

Both the government and the PTI decided to turn the Terms of Reference (TORs) which were agreed upon during yesterday’s meeting in black and white. On Thursday, both sides agreed to find a political solution to the impasse over elections through dialogue.

The government and the opposition held initial negotiations about holding simultaneous elections in the country and other matters regarding poll date.

Ahead of second round of talks today, Shah Mehmood Qureshi resented the arrest of PTI workers by the federal capital police during Imran Khan’s arrival at the Islamabad High Court. He said though the police have released the PTI workers but they did not create any law and order situation. He, however, said that he is still optimistic.

On the other hand, while talking to media outside the Supreme Court building, SAPM Attaullah Tarar said that the government and the opposition are holding dialogue over elections and ‘it is hoped that the talks will be fruitful’.

He said that negotiations between the government and the opposition are being held in positive manner. To a question regarding the PTI demands, Tarar said ‘When the PTI will put forward its demands, then we will come to know’.

When a journalist asked him whether the government is ready to announce the poll date before October or extend it beyond November, the SAPM replied ‘this is not the case. Let’s see what happens during today’s meeting’.

He said that negotiations do not aim at delaying the polls, rather we are seriously trying to find a solution to the impasse.   The PTI wants assurance that elections will be held this year, he added. — DNA