The All Parties Conference (APC) — called by the incumbent government to discuss important security and economic challenges being faced by Pakistan — has been postponed for the second time this week.
The multi-party moot was first slated for Feb 7 (today). However, in a tweet yesterday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb had rescheduled the conference to Feb 9, Thursday. She did not mention why the meeting was moved.
In yet another tweet today, she said that the meeting has been once again postponed as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be travelling to Turkey on Wednesday.
A powerful earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing more than 4,000 people. Rescue operations are underway in the countries as several people are believed to be stuck under the rubble.
In a tweet today, Aurangzeb said that the premier will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and express condolences for the lives lost in the earthquake.
“Due to the prime minister’s visit to Turkey, the APC convened on Thursday February 9 is being postponed, a new date will be announced in consultation with the allies,” she added.
PM Shehbaz had decided to convene the multi-party moot last week in a move that was seen as significant development amid rising political temperatures in the country.
The invitation for the meeting was also extended to PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan, which was formally delivered to party leaders Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser by former speaker and federal minister, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
The conference comes at a time when the country is facing an uptick in terrorist activity. On January 30, a suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines area claimed the lives of 84 people, mostly police officials.
At the same time, the country is also facing trouble on the economic front. Foreign exchange reserves have gone down to $3.09 billion, which analysts say covers less than three weeks of imports.
The country is locked in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release much-needed money under a stalled bailout programme. A successful outcome with the IMF would also help to release money from other platforms that are looking for a greenlight from the lender.