PTI walks back on offer of talks with ‘three parties’

PTI walks back on offer of talks with ‘three parties’

ISLAMABAD, JUN 14: After a seeming change of heart in the PTI to reach out to the government to end the political impasse, the party on Friday walked back and said it would not talk with “three parties”.

In February, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan had said that party founder Imran Khan had given instructions to initiate contact with all other political parties, except the PML-N, PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan.

The three parties are part of the coalition that is heading the government.

In an apparent U-turn from its earlier assertions that the former ruling party would only talk to ‘empowered’ stakeholders and not the ‘toothless ruling’ coalition, Imran on Tuesday had ordered the party’s top brass to reach out to the government for a dialogue.

The change of heart came in light of remarks by the Sup­reme Court during a hearing of the graft laws amendments case, in which the bench observed that the PTI should initiate talks with the government and resolve its issues in parliament through dialogue.

Speaking to journalists outside Adiala Jail, PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan had said that Imran gave the go-ahead for the talks with the government. He had said the party would initially take its allies into confidence but could also take a solo flight on the issue.

Gohar had said that the talks with the government could be initiated through the platform of the opposition’s multi-party coalition alliance or by the PTI on its own, adding that it had concluded that talks were the only option available to the party.

However, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad today with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub, Hasan said: “Regarding a controversy on the media that the PTI is moving to have negotiations with three political parties that are mandate usurpers, Imran has clearly told us that there is no situation like this.”

He said Imran had asked for the three parties to first bring and show their “letter of authorisation from their sponsors and patrons” about whether they actually had any authority to negotiate with the PTI and if they would be able to deliver on any promises to the party.

“Our contention since the first day is that they have nothing and they’re only mummies and dummies whose strings are controlled from elsewhere and they dance according to them.”

He said Imran had clearly directed in “blunt words that we have no intention to negotiate with these three political parties at any stage”.

Hasan said if there was any ambiguity left about the matter then it should be removed now.

Omar added that Imran said that if Tehreek-i-Tahafuz-i-Aain-i-Pakistan president Mahmood Khan Achakzai wanted to hold talks with anyone from the coalition alliance’s platform then he was welcome to do so but such negotiations would only be on the movement’s behalf.

“The PTI has a demand that they have to fulfil our prerequisites [and] eliminate all cases against Imran, Bushra Bibi and our officers and any talks will be held after that.”