Army advises parties to hold talks, refuses to mediate

Published August 21, 2014
Army has refused to mediate between the government and the protesting parties.— APP file photo
Army has refused to mediate between the government and the protesting parties.— APP file photo

ISLAMABAD: The army has refused to mediate between the government and the protesting parties to defuse the political crisis and has instead asked both sides to work for a settlement on their own.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali met Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif for the fourth time in eight days on Wednesday. They were told to directly engage the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in a “meaningful dialogue” and find out an “urgent solution”.

Gen Sharif asked the government to demonstrate “seriousness” in opening talks with the protesters.

A source privy to the discussions between the government and the army chief said the civilian leadership, besides seeking help for security, had been asking for assistance in negotiating a settlement.

The PML-N had in the past been a staunch opponent of military involvement in political issues.

The source said that the message delivered to the government in the meetings was that the army had no intention of intervening in the political conflict.

“Gen Sharif sees it as a political issue which needs to be expeditiously addressed in a political way,” he said.

The best the government could get from the military through the contacts was a statement that both sides should “break prevailing impasse through meaningful dialogue in larger national and public interest”.

The feeling emerging out of the GHQ to some extent helped in dispelling an impression created by the government that the armed forces had sided with it in the dispute.

It is said to have compelled both sides to at least begin direct parleys, though they stuck to their guns in the preliminary rounds they had on Wednesday.

PTI chief Imran Khan, who announced his party’s decision to start negotiations with the government, said in a television interview that the army wanted them to negotiate, “but it does not mean that I’ll strike an under-hand deal”.

But the army’s insistence on an “urgent settlement” would put additional pressure on the government.

At the same time, the military’s description of ‘Red Zone’ buildings as “symbols of the state which are being protected by the army” has set the red line for the protesters.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2014

Opinion

No choice but to leave
20 Jun 2021

No choice but to leave

The influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan is likely to increase again with the US withdrawal.
Cost of enforced modesty
Updated 19 Jun 2021

Cost of enforced modesty

By inviting mullahs to regulate biology textbooks the PTI government has put Pakistan in reverse gear.

Editorial

20 Jun 2021

More vaccines needed

THE vaccination rate in the country has slowed in recent days and could result in a crisis if not addressed...
20 Jun 2021

Balochistan protest

THE clashes outside the Balochistan Assembly on budget day were unfortunate. But they had been waiting to happen. ...
20 Jun 2021

Silent victims

THE deafening silence of political authorities, including leaders from the religious right, on the Mufti Azizur...
19 Jun 2021

NA peace — for now

AFTER a session of utter pandemonium and a distasteful war of words, normalcy finally returned to the National...
India uranium theft
Updated 19 Jun 2021

India uranium theft

REPORTS emerging from India about the theft of uranium and possible sale on the black market should be a cause for...
19 Jun 2021

KCR rigmarole

THURSDAY’S proceedings in the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated how divided the stakeholders are when it comes to...