Finally some positive news in the Politics of Pakistan as the ruling alliance (PDM) and (PTI) have commenced at Parliament House to have negotiations in order to break political impasse following the orders from Supreme Court (SC).
A three-member delegation comprising of PTI Senior Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Ali Zafar were representing PTI in the talks.
Meanwhile, the government’s panel includes Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Senator Yousuf Raza Gillani, Saad Rafique, Naveed Qamar, and Kishwar Zehra.
The negotiations were taking place in the Parliament House Committee Room Number 3. The delegation informed the government about PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s stance on elections and about how the elections should be conducted.
Talking to journalists before the talks, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi hoped for a breakthrough in negotiations. “We should hope for the beat even in despair,” he said.
Moreover, Fawad Chaudhry noted that PTI has only one-point agenda i.e. election. “We have spoken to [party chief] Imran Khan and out matters are settled,” he said, adding that the three-member committee has full mandate.
He further said that as per the Constitution, elections should be held within 90 days of dissolution of assembly. “Negotiations will only take place as per constitution and law”, he added.
The PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who is also the president of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) said his party was against the negotiations and would not be part of the talks with PTI.
In conversation with journalists, Fazl said holding consultations is the job of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), not political parties.
“The Supreme Court is forcefully asking us to hold talks; all the political parties are trying to convince one person [Khan] and we cannot do that,” the JUI-F chief said.
The political turmoil — that began after Khan’s ouster in April last year — has led to severe economic distress, with the rupee falling to historic lows against the dollar and foreign exchange reserves falling to less than a month’s import cover.
Earlier today Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday successfully obtained a vote of confidence from the National Assembly by securing 180 votes.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the foreign minister, tabled the resolution, on which 180 Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) voted yes and showed their confidence meanwhile 174 member opposed when Shehbaz was elected as the prime minister in April last year.
While addressing floor of the National Assembly after securing a confidence vote, the prime minister thanked the coalition partners for reposing their trust in his leadership.
He said had his government been formed as a result of a foreign-backed conspiracy, it would not have imported oil from Russia.
“Today, the decisions of parliament are being challenged. It is not possible that a court stops the implementation of a law which has not been enacted yet,” he said, taking about the top court’s decision to stop the implementation of the bill seeking to curb the chief justice’s powers.
“We don’t accept the decision of a three-member bench. We accept the decision of a majority of four judges,” he said while referring to the Punjab elections delay case verdict of the Supreme Court.
The ruling parties have decided to hold negotiations with PTI in Senate and we will send our representatives in this regard today, but talks will be held only on holding polls across the country simultaneously.
Chairman Senate Offer
Earlier in the day, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani decided to form a 10-member parliamentary committee for talks on holding elections across the country on the same date.
In a letter written to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and PTI senator Shehzad Waseem, the Senate chairman has asked both leaders to give four names for the formation of committee to address the ongoing political and economic crisis including the holding of general elections.
“The Senate of Pakistan; House of Federation, being a stabilising factor of the federation is constitutionally bestowed with the responsibility of protecting the national and political harmony vis-a-vis the national and public interest,” he wrote.
Sanjrani added that a 10-member special committee for holding political dialogue is being constituted under the joint convenership of the Leader of the House in the Senate and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and comprising four members each from the treasury and opposition benches.
He further mentioned that his office and the Senate will be available to facilitate the talks. He then asked Waseem to provide, on the PTI’s behalf, the names of four members from the opposition benches, to be made part of the committee in two days.
Supreme Court Hearing
In todays hearing Chief Justice of Pakistan said that no additional time will be given, Court will announce the appropriate verdict today and wont gave any further timeline.
Chief Justice remarked “Please for the sake of the Constitution sit with each other.”
“The court cannot force [parties] on a dialogue. The court only wants implementation on the Constitution so that the dispute is resolved,” the top judge added. He said that the court did not need any clarification but a solution to the issue.
On talks in Senate, the CJP stated that the it will take time for the chairman to summon a meeting.
“The court provided an opportunity to the political parties for the sake of national interest. [However] PTI has not been contacted [as of yet],” said Qureshi.
CJP Bandial then remarked that one has to be patient in the matter of negotiations.“The court has not made an order it’s just an advice. If there is no consensus for the sake of national interest and Constitution then things will remain as they are,” said CJP Bandial. He also wondered why there was delay in proposing names of representatives for talks and asked whether the government had proposed its five names.
While wrapping up the hearing for today, CJP Bandial remarked that the court will not issue any directives nor will it issue a timeline for the talks. However, he added that the court will issue an appropriate order and order is issued by today.