The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has decided to resume dialogue with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the prevailing political impasse and a formal contact in this regard would be made by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
“The prime minister feels that this is the time to engage Imran Khan’s party into dialogue process as the PTI chief looks desperate and is adopting extreme steps which may jeopardise the country’s peace and stability,” said a source in the federal cabinet.
The source added that Senator Dar has been tasked to resume talks with Qureshi, “who is a seasoned political campaigner and looks serious”.
“It had been already agreed between Senator Dar and Qureshi that dialogue process would resume after PTI’s November 30 rally. So it is absurd to assume that the government decided to resume talks after the ultimatum by PTI chief Imran Khan,” the source added.
Moreover, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah had also suggested Prime Minister Sharif to re-engage PTI in talks and end the drawn out political crisis after taking other political parties on board.
However, the source negated any connection between the decision to hold dialogue and the premier’s meeting with the opposition leader as the PML-N government “took the decision on its own”.
Talking to a news channel, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid confirmed the move, saying, “We want negotiations to resume, and settle the issue amicably. In this regard the prime minister has asked Senator Dar to take the initiative.”
In the meanwhile, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that the government was in contact with the PTI leadership even before the November 30 rally. He added that he had spoken to PTI vice chairman on Saturday and both men had agreed to resume talks after the rally.
“PTI also wants to come to the table, and we hope things would be settled positively,” the minister said.
Earlier on Sunday, the PTI chief had announced “Plan-C” which would aims to lockdown Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, before bringing the entire country to a standstill if his demands to hold an impartial poll enquiry are not met by mid-December.