ISLAMABAD: Following two rounds of talks with Federal Ministers Ishaq Dar and Zahid Hamid, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri late on Wednesday night announced that dialogue process with the government has ‘completely failed’.
In a bid to resolve prevailing political stalemate with respect to issues concerning the PAT, Ishaq Dar and Zahid Hamid visited the protest site twice in hours to engage Dr Tahurl Qadri in the 'decisive phase' of talks.
Speaking to his supporters at Constitution Avenue, the anti-government cleric said the government has refused to accept the two core demands extended by his party.
Qadri said that two demands were FIR against 21 individuals, including Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and PM Nawaz Sharif along with police officials in Model Town tragedy and the resignations of Sharif brothers.
“Delegation should not bother coming back, we gave dialogue a chance till very end,” said Qadri.
“Thursday will be Youm-e-Inquilab (revolution day),” said the PAT chief, adding that, “We will not go forward from tomorrow as it will be the deciding day.”
He urged his supporters to call prayers seven times at 4pm to achieve victory against the government.
The two ministers had earlier in the evening met with the PAT chief, where they gave assurance that they would return with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's consent.
Following the evening meeting, Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar also met with the PAT chief.
Dispelling the notion that the two governors wanted to woo Qadri to end his protest, the PAT chief said that they were only visiting to show solidarity with the marchers.
Meanwhile, speaking to PAT’s sit-in participants, Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan said they wanted to show solidarity with the protesters that is why they were there. He said the government should accept all the legitimate demands of Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Khan added that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain also wanted to show solidarity with the marchers.
The Sindh governor also announced that the MQM would also participate in the ongoing anti-government protest demonstrations if the demands were not met. He vowed to continue his and his party’s efforts in resolving the issue amicably.
Earlier, speaking to a charged crowd here at Constitution Avenue, the jubilant and confident looking PAT chief said that the government team would return at around 9:30pm after consulting with the PM.
“We extended only two core demands to the government ministers … and they have asked for a couple of hours for getting the premier’s consent,” he said.
Govt reaction to Qadri's demands
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his visit to Turkey, which was scheduled for later today, amid the tumultuous political situation prevailing in the country and summoned a meeting of his close political associates, Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz sources told Dawn.
The premier had rejected the demand of PAT chief Tahirul Qadri which called for resignation of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and conveyed his message in this regard to the members of the government's negotiating team.
President Mamnoon Hussain was now expected to depart to Turkey in place of Prime Minister Sharif.
Dr Tahirul Qadri, who has been staging a protest sit-in with thousands of supporters for the last ten days to oust PM Sharif’s government, announced that the ‘Inquilab march’ would not be called off, however, the deadline can be extended by a few hours only to negotiate further on rest of the demands.
Qadri vowed to make the government team announce the eventual outcome of the talks officially if the two demands are met. He said the negotiations have entered into a conclusive and decisive stage now and urged the masses to be a part of 'history', which he claimed was about to be made in the federal capital.
The PAT earlier in the day had refused to withdraw from its 48-hour deadline to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Speaking to the media, PAT leader Raheeq Abbasi had said that the party will decide for any future course of action after the deadline expires at 6pm.
Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain also went to meet PAT chief Tahirul Qadri in the latter's container parked in Islamabad's Red Zone.
Shujaat went to meet Qadri along with two others whose names haven't been disclosed.
The development comes as the 48-hour ultimatum that the firebrand Canada-based cleric gave to the government to meet his demands neared expiration.
The move by PAT was expected especially after the judicial commission which was investigating the June 17 Model Town incident held the government responsible for it, saying the police acted on government orders which led to the bloodshed.