PDM amenable to ‘unconditional’ talks with Imran

Published December 6, 2022
PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari (L) meets PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (R) in Islamabad on Monday. — Screengrab via PPP Twitter
PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari (L) meets PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (R) in Islamabad on Monday. — Screengrab via PPP Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday expressed its willingness to engage former prime minister Imran Khan in a dialogue to break the prevailing political impasse, but said it wanted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to let go of its conditions.

An insider told Dawn that the ruling coalition was willing to hold “unconditional” talks with the PTI if Mr Khan was ready to participate in the talks himself.

A government official claimed that PM Shehbaz Sharif had asked the PML-N and PDM leaders to go easy on the former prime minister and not tease him on the issue of talks with the government, as such a move would be counterproductive.

Mr Khan had recently expressed willingness to talk to the government, but he apparently withdrew his offer after being criticised by the government leaders for taking another “U-turn”.

Zardari meets Shujaat; coalition partners asked to ‘slow down’ efforts to unseat Elahi

In what appeared to be another olive branch, the PDM also decided to slow down efforts to bring a no-confidence motion in the Punjab Assembly against CM Parvez Elahi as it believed that neither Mr Khan nor Mr Elahi wanted to dissolve the provincial assembly.

This emerged after a meeting of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in Islamabad, which took stock of the political situation in Punjab. It was the second meeting of the two leaders in 12 days.

A source close to the ex-president said PDM leadership, especially Mr Zardari, believed Mr Khan would never dissolve assemblies as such a move would make him “irrelevant” in the political scene.

According to media reports, Mr Zardari and Chaudhry Shujaat also talked to PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in London and asked him to put the plan of the no-trust move against CM Elahi on the back burner.

Media reports, which were not confirmed by sources close to Mr Zardari, said Nawaz Sharif also relayed to the PML-N-led government to focus its energies on stabilising the economy. instead of ousting the Punjab government.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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