ISLAMABAD: Negotiators for the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the government failed to make a breakthrough on Wednesday and adjourned the talks till Friday to seek time for internal consultations.
On the third consecutive day of the parleys, negotiators from both sides discussed the latest addition to the PAT’s list of demands -- formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the use of force by police against protesters marching to Prime Minister House on Aug 30, which resulted in the death of three of them.
“We have asked for a JIT to investigate who was responsible for the violence and the consequent deaths in Islamabad,” a PAT negotiator told Dawn.
The government rejected the PAT’s demand on the ground that if it were to form a JIT on the Islamabad incident, police would not accept their orders in future. The government has already faced such refusals by senior officers of Islamabad police.
Thirteen criminal cases have been registered against the leaders of the PAT and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on the charges of murder attempt, assault, illegal gathering, damaging public property, trespassing and incitement to violence. Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act has also been invoked in some of the FIRs.
Instead, PAT negotiators were asked to approach courts with a plea for constitution of a commission to investigate alleged excessive use of force by police.
In another move, the PAT rejected the government’s proposal about the composition of a JIT on June 17’s Model Town firing incident.
The government had suggested on Tuesday that the JIT could comprise three police officials and one representative each from the Intelligence Bureau, Inter Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.
Though the PAT appeared to be willing to accept the proposal on Tuesday, it rejected it on Wednesday and asked for reducing the number of police officials in the proposed JIT from three to one.
The government team said it would respond to the latest PAT suggestion on the JIT composition after deliberating on it.
Later, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told reporters that the PAT’s reservations over the Model Town incident investigation had been addressed. He said the two sides had agreed on a transparent inquiry into the incident in which 14 PAT workers were killed allegedly by shots fired by police.
Regarding the reforms demanded by the PAT, the government has proposed the establishment of a national reforms council.
The PAT has sought time for studying the government’s proposal.
A source in the PAT said the party would present its final proposals to the government at Friday’s meeting.
The jirga of the opposition parties is also expected to offer a suggestion on the PAT demand for resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for his alleged involvement in the Model Town incident.
Published in Dawn, September 11th , 2014