ISLAMABAD: The talks between the government and the PTI remained shrouded in confusion as the two sides maintained polar opposite stances on early elections amid reports of a ‘backdoor’ contact.

Several private TV channels on Friday reported that talks between the two sides have begun as PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the government have sent ‘one representative each’ to President Arif Alvi.

But the talks, if any, apparently hit a snag in the early stages only as the PTI stuck to the demand of holding early elections before it sat with the government.

When contacted by Dawn, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said no formal talks have been started and denied that any representative was sent for this purpose.

“If talks are being held openly or via backdoor, we have a clear stance that we will sit for talks if the government agrees to hold early elections,” he told Dawn.

Fawad Chaudhry denies contacts; Rana Sanaullah says negotiations with President Alvi ongoing

“In that case, we can sit together to finalise the nitty-gritty of the polls,” he added.

Although Mr Chauhdry conceded that it was “unconstitutional” to dissolve a government before its term ends, he added that the PTI could not allow the current government “to further ruin the economy”.

He also reiterated his party’s decision and said if the government did not announce a date for early elections’ date, the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies will be dissolved by the end of December.

‘Ready for unconditional talks’

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the government was ready to hold “unconditional” talks with the PTI.

In an interview with a private news channel, the minister said his government was already holding an informal dialogue with President Alvi.

But a source in the government also confirmed that no formal talks between the government and the PTI have started.

The source said the government has not nominated any representative for this purpose.

PM lashes out at past governments

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday lashed out at pre-vious governments for stagnating the country’s progress.

The prime minister was addressing an event organised to acknowledge relief efforts by the National Flood Response and Coordination Center (NFRCC) and other institutions in the wake of floods.Prime Minister Sharif said areas like Reko Diq and others in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were rich in natural resources but we failed to benefit from them.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022

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