Govt, PAT accommodate each other, but agreement still not in sight

Published September 10, 2014
Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri waves toward his supporters as he mixed up with them during the march. — Photo by INP
Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri waves toward his supporters as he mixed up with them during the march. — Photo by INP

ISLAMABAD: The government replied in writing on Tuesday to Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s demands as both sides appeared to be accommodating each other on critical issues in negotiations.

However, an agreement remained elusive and the negotiators agreed to meet again on Wednesday.

The government’s response presented to PAT negotiators covered both the investigation aspect of the Model Town firing incident and the demand for reforms.

According to sources, in response to the PAT’s proposal on the composition of a joint investigation team (JIT), the government suggested a six-member commission comprising three police officers and one officer each representing the Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau.

The PAT had demanded a 12-member JIT consisting of three officers each of the MI, ISI and IB and as many police officers from outside Punjab.

The PAT is said to have accepted in principle the composition of the JIT proposed by the government, but the sources said that problems could arise again over the nomination of the three police officers.

The PAT wants the nomination to be mutually agreed.

On the timeframe for the investigation, the government has proposed three months. The PAT wants it to be 30 days, extendable by 15 days in case of compelling circumstances.

The government delegation told the PAT team that it was ready to reconsider the suggestion about timeframe.

On the issue of the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who has been named as one of the 21 accused in the case relating to the incident, the jirga of the opposition parties has been asked to come up with a suggestion acceptable to both sides.

Earlier, the PAT had made the resignation a non-negotiable pre-condition, while the government had categorically rejected it.

Talking to reporters about the negotiations, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Sirajul Haq said there were many speed breakers on the way but “I am not pessimistic”.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2014

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