Ahsan Iqbal requests PTI to attend electoral reforms committee meetings

Updated December 11, 2014

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Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference.—APP/file
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference.—APP/file

LAHORE: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday requested the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to send its representatives to attend meetings of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms so that the current political deadlock could be ended as early as possible.

While making the request at a press conference in Lahore, the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leader said that, "if the committee reaches a final decision over the electoral reforms, the PTI will later complain that they were not taken into confidence."

Iqbal said the government wants to move ahead with negotiations with the PTI in a conducive environment.

He added that, "We had reached an agreement on the issue of the judicial commission since day one and there are no disagreements over the electoral reforms. We want to bring electoral reforms with national consensus."

"There can be certain issues that need to be decided for the formation of the judicial commission, like the terms of reference, but there are no disagreements over the issue of electoral reforms. So the PTI should send its representatives so that a national consensus can be reached over the issue," the minister said.

He said the government hoped to end the current political impasse through talks and emphasised on political maturity and tolerance for bringing political stability in the country, which he described as a prerequisite to economic progress.

The PML-N leader said Pakistan needs Imran Khan along with leaders like Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Altaf Hussain.

"No political leader can solve Pakistan's problems alone, and we will have to give up the approach that I am right and every one else is wrong," he said.

Iqbal said the country's stability should not be put at stake.

Read: Imran's Plan C: Paralyse major cities, paralyse Pakistan

He said that half of Pakistan's population comprises the youth, and the country is moving ahead through the process of recovery.

The minister said that the country is coming out of isolation at international level, as the environment has turned favorable for Pakistan in China, Japan, the European Union, the United States, and Middle East.

Read: PTI says ready for talks with govt

Responding to a question, Iqbal expressed regret over the violent incident in Faisalabad, and urged political parties not to issue provocative statements that could incite workers of opponent parties.

"Our enemies will benefit if we take to the streets. We should take to the streets against terrorism, poverty and ignorance."

Following an advisory meeting in the wake of shutdown calls by PTI, the ruling PML-N on Wednesday extended an unconditional offer to the former for resumption of dialogue.

Also read: Govt extends ‘unconditional’ dialogue offer to PTI

Reciprocating the government offer, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that he will call off his ‘plan C’ if the government is ready to set up a judicial commission before the PTI’s call to shutdown Karachi on December 12.