- PTI’s offer for dialogue
There is a need no doubt on the part of the PTI government to dissuade the PDM from further public rallies and marches at a time when the second wave of coronavirus is taking a heavy toll of lives. But for this the government should have addressed the oppositions’ concerns regarding the PTI government introducing a one -party rule after the Senate elections and the ongoing one-sided persecution of the opposition leaders by NAB. What is more, any serious offer of talks should have been accompanied with gestures of goodwill like the release of opposition parliamentarians presently in NAB custody, as suggested by PML(F) secretary general Muhammad Ali Durrani also. Instead NAB has expanded its investigation into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case to include former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s younger daughter Asma Nawaz also.
The offer of dialogue made at a presser by Information Minister Shibli Faraz, accompanied by two oter federal ministers, was predicated on the condition that PML(N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman would not be included in the opposition’s negotiating team. When an adversary is genuinely interested in holding talks, he does not insist on nominating the other’s negotiating team. It is the height of non seriousness to invite the opposition for talks while charging its components with being anti-Pakistan, anti-army and pro-India while characterising the entire opposition alliance as a gang of looters and a bunch of liars. The remarks made at the media conference highlighting differences among the opposition parties, particularly between the PPP and PML(N), show that the press conference was in fact a naive attempt to divide the opposition.
The government wanted to create a perception that while it was open for dialogue, the PDM was not. The presser would instead lead many to conclude that it was a gimmick which showed the PTI leadership had little interest in talks. The government move would weaken the position of those few in the PDM who want the allied parties to go back to Parliament to resolve differences with the government instead of confronting it head on. The press conference thus is likely to strengthen the hardliners in the PDM.