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Day 5: Will PTI negotiate with the government?

Updated August 18, 2014

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A PTI supporter in Islamabad. — Reuters photo
A PTI supporter in Islamabad. — Reuters photo

With Imran Khan giving the government a 48-hour deadline to meet his demands and calling on all his supporters to stop paying utility bills and taxes, the future of his Azadi march-turned-dharna is becoming increasingly uncertain.

He issued the 48-hour deadline a day after claiming that Sunday would constitute the final round of the crisis.

At the same time, the much hyped Inqilab of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri seems to have run out of steam, having already issued his own ultimatum to the government on Saturday night.

With the government constituting multi-party panels to manage the crisis before the two deadlines expire, the next several hours can become critical in determining the future of these protests.

Follow our updates on the ongoing political crisis below.

Read Day one updates here | Read Day two updates here | Read Day three updates here | Read Day four updates here


Nawaz forms cabinet committee for dialogue with PTI, PAT


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday constituted a five-member cabinet committee to hold dialogue with Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) – the two parties currently staging anti-government sit-ins in the federal capital.

The committee has also been tasked with establishing contacts and coordination with the reconciliation committee formed by the political parties and facilitating them.

The committee comprises federal ministers Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Muhammad Akram Durrani, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Irfan Siddiqui.


PPP, MQM reiterate resolve to uphold democracy


Leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – the coalition partners in Sindh and opposition parties at the centre – on Monday reiterated their resolve that the democracy would not be allowed to derail in the country.

Speaking at a joint press conference here, MQM’s Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that the two parties enjoy cordial relations and stand united in all crises in the country.

“All parties desire political stability in the country … We want to avoid confrontation,” said Malik, adding that, “In democracy, everyone has the right to protest and freedom of speech.”

He said that upon recommendations of PPP and MQM, the federal government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif allowed the twin protests in Islamabad.


Negotiations with any panels can be held after Nawaz resigns: Shujaat


Ruling out talks with the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Monday said negotiations with any committees can only be held after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down.

He was speaking to media representatives along with senior PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said the opposition should not respond to those hurling profanities and added that he would not comment on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s call for a civil disobedience movement against the sitting government.

Elahi said the committees expected to be announced by the federal government for talks with the PTI and PAT leadership would only represent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, adding that government committees would have no independent standing.


Govt to announce committee for talks with PTI, PAT today


The federal government is expected to announce the composition of two powerful government committees by today evening to hold separate talks with the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (Pat) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership in order to listen to their demands and convince them to call off their respective sit-ins.

Highly credible sources told Dawn that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had tasked his close aides to include political leaders from the country's political parties in the committee who may be acceptable to both Pat chief Tahirul Qadri and PTI chief Imran Khan.

The senior ministers who have been tasked by the premier have established contact with various parliamentary leaders aimed at convincing them to become a part of the government committee.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah has already made it clear that his party would not become a part of the government negotiating team rather it would continue to play its role to defuse the situation. — By Mateen Haider


PTI ponders negotiating with govt?


Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Arif Alvi took to Twitter to engage in a discussion over the options his party has to put pressure on the government.

The statement comes as political leaders make efforts to resolve the deadlock between the government and dissenting PTI over the latter's call for the prime minister's resignation over allegations that his party rigged last year's general elections.


Open 10 constituencies each: Siraj-ul-Haq


In a bid to defuse political tension between the government and protesting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq on Monday advised both parties to open 10 constituencies each for vote verification.

According to DawnNews, Haq communicated this recommendation to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and said that both the PTI and PML-N should open 10 constituencies each to ease the friction between the two parties over rigging allegations.

He said that Nisar will consult Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif before a decision is made.

If the government decides to submit this offer to the PTI, Haq will be given the mandate to speak with PTI chief Imran Khan.


KP threatens to stop power supply from Tarbela if centre cuts power to province


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has said that the province will not be paying electricity and gas bills along with federal taxes and if utilities are disconnected to the province, power supply from Tarbela to Punjab will be stopped.

Speaking to Dawn, KP Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said provincial taxes will be collected as per routine but the public will not be paying any federal taxes along with electricity and gas bills.

He said the civil disobedience movement was against the corrupt and incompetent federal government and not the government managing the province.

Responding to a question, Ghani said that if the centre dared to disconnect power supply to KP, the province will have the right to stop supply from Tarbela which falls within the provincial jurisdiction.


Zardari concerned over political developments


Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari has expressed deep concern over the political crisis prevailing in the country, DawnNews reported.

He said the government should find a way of talks to resolve the political crisis peacefully.

Moreover, he advised Imran Khan to refrain from civil disobedience and said he should not issue controversial statements.

Zardari also warned that no one should be allowed to derail democracy in Pakistan.


ANP asks PM to take vote of confidence


Asfandyar Wali Khan, who was re-elected president of the Awami National Party (ANP) for the third term on Sunday, has advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly.

Khan, who was elected at a meeting attended by 573 members of the party’s general council in Wali Bagh, said PTI chief Imran Khan and PAT leader Tahirul Qadri would be responsible if any harm came to democracy.

“The ANP will not support any campaign to derail democracy and will resist any move to that end. There’s a way in the Constitution which should be followed,” he said.

He said the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had not fulfilled its responsibility of helping the displaced people of Waziristan. Instead, it had engaged in “bhangra” in Islamabad.


PTI ministers, MPAs not to pay taxes, utility bills


With the PTI-led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a fix over Imran Khan’s announcement of a civil disobedience movement, all provincial ministers and MPAs belonging to the party have decided not pay taxes and utility bills.

Information Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told Dawn that the provincial government was also expected to abide by the decision but said that a formal decision about running day-to-day government affairs would be taken after a meeting to be convened later.

“Except me, all provincial ministers and MPAs are in Islamabad in connection with the PTI sit-in and they are expected to meet soon to take a firm decision in this re­gard,” Ghani said, adding that they believed that the federal government was illegal because it was the outcome of a rigged election and, therefore, they should not pay electricity and gas bills and GST and income tax.

He said that being members of the PTI he and other MPAs and ministers would fully follow Imran Khan’s command.