Talks to end crisis in Pakistan gaining momentum

Posted By: PTI
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Pakistan protest
Islamabad, Sep 4: The lingering political crisis in Pakistan seemed to be headed towards a resolution after weeks of turmoil with efforts to seal a negotiated settlement between the government and protesters gaining momentum.

Talks between the two warring sides -- government and -- the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) -- were held late last night.

Two separate meetings took place overnight with the first one being held between the government committee and the PTI and the second between PAT, government and opposition parties' 'Jirga', a committee of opposition politicians led by Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq.

Though the talks were inconclusive yet leaders from both sides said their were some positive outcomes from the talks. Rehman Malik, Pakistan Peoples Party leader and a member of the opposition 'Jirga', tweeted after the talks, "I had very long day. Deadlock between govt and IK/TUQ (Khan/Qadri) is over.They are now having dialogue which will be helpful in resolving the crises."

After the meeting between PAT, government and opposition parties, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said, "During the meeting we have agreed to continue talks and resolve matter through dialogue. We have also decided not to comment on any development until we reach a decision, as it might affect the dialogue process."

PTI leaders Asad Umar and Arif Alvi said nothing concrete came out of talks, but expressed hope that a positive outcome would soon be achieved. Haq called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here today and briefed him about the dialogue process with PTI and PAT.

Khan, addressing his supporters last night said, "Let me tell you what you have achieved so far. People who were not ready to talk, are now ready to not only listen to our demands but also to set up an independent judicial commission."

The only unaccepted demand remains the Prime Minister's resignation, he said. "If we had not come on to the streets, then the next election would have been far more fraudulent," the PTI chief said.

The protesters returned to the negotiating table yesterday after the political crisis took a violent turn over the weekend with three people killed and over 550 injured. Khan wants the ruling PML-N government's ouster over alleged rigging in last year's polls which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country. Both the leaders are agitating since August 14.

Meanwhile, an emergency joint session of the Parliament convened to support the Premier and discuss the crisis continued for a third day today.


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