PESHAWAR: The government and opposition here on Thursday began talks in an effort to defuse tension in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

A lawmaker of the opposition said that the government took the initiative and invited opposition parties in the assembly for talks. He said that the government had contacted Awami National Party parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak for negotiations.

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani had directed the government on Tuesday to hold talks with the opposition to restore order in the assembly. The opposition’s protest had rattled the assembly’s proceedings.

The government team included PTI chief whip Qalandar Khan Lodhi, information minister Shaukat Yousafzai, law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan and finance minister Taimur Saleem Marwat while MPAs Inayatullah Khan, Sardar Yousaf Zaman, Sardar Hussain Babak and Mir Kalam represented the opposition in talks.

MPA Inayatullah said that both sides agreed to resolve issues through talks and cooperate to maintain decorum in the assembly. He said that next round of talks between the two sides was likely to be held on Monday.

He said they could not reach an agreement because of the absence of opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani and PPP parliamentary leader Sher Azam.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2020