A solo-flight by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to arrange public gatherings outside the federal capital has not only left Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri red-faced and isolated but has also left the cleric with no other option but to strike a quiet face-saving deal with the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N) government and go home, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, with Qadri approaching isolation, a quiet dialogue process between PAT and PML-N government has entered its final stage and it is likely that the PAT chief would call off the sit-in anytime soon. However, Qadri was keeping his allied parties’ leaders in the dark about talks with the government, sources added.
The sources’ claim is substantiated by PML-Haqiqi chief Naveed Khan, who expressed ignorance to the dialogue process, telling Pakistan Today that no talks were being held by the protesting parties with the government rather the coalition had decided to expand their protests in mega cities of the country soon after Eid.
On the other hand, PAT Information Secretary Omar Riaz Abbasi confirmed that a “covert dialogue” with the government was in process and that a breakthrough had been made.
“Yes, there is a breakthrough in dialogue process with the government. We hope to call off the sit-in soon and may go home to celebrate Eidul Azha,” he added.
“We want formation of a new joint investigation committee (JIT) which should comprise members from intelligence agencies. However, we will oppose any member from Punjab Police as killers cannot be investigators,” Abbasi said.
GOVT TALKING TO THE ONE WHO TALKS:
In the meanwhile, a well-placed government source privy to the dialogue process told Pakistan Today that in order to tear apart the alliance between the protesters of PTI and PAT, the government had accelerated the dialogue with PAT under a reviewed strategy.
The source said that PAT and PTI both were actually reinforcing each others’ weaknesses and the government feels that if one party strikes a deal with the government, the other would have no option but to follow suit.
The government believed that it was easier to strike a deal with the cleric rather than talking to Khan who was stubborn and inflexible, source added.
“It is PTI chief Imran Khan who has been urging PAT chief not to end his sit-in. But we are hopeful for a breakthrough as Qadri was unhappy with the solo-flight of Khan who had not consulted him before expanding his protests to other big cities of the country,” the source said, adding that the dialogue process would enable the cleric to also expand his movement to other cities.
“The only major hurdle which remains a bone of contention is the release of all those PAT workers who have been detained. Qadri wants release of all his party workers and sympathizers before any agreement. As soon as this matter is resolved, the sit-in would be called off,” the source concluded.