ISLAMABAD: The PTI on Friday urged the coalition government to “give a date and venue” for a meeting that would bring together all political parties to the table, whereas the top regulatory body of lawyers said it was ready to mediate between the government and the opposition.
In a Twitter post, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar was giving statements every day to sit together and solve issues and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also asked for talks.
“Extend this process beyond statements and give a date and venue for the [political] parties to meet. Imran Khan has already favoured dialogues,” he tweeted.
Mr Chaudhry’s statement came a day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan struck a conciliatory tone, saying he was ready to “talk to anyone” and “render any sacrifice” for the country’s sake.
Top lawyers’ body offers to mediate between political parties to resolve disputes
“I will not shy away from any sacrifice for the sake of Pakistan’s uplift, interest and democracy. In this regard, I am willing to talk to anyone and take every step towards it,” the former premier tweeted on Thursday.
Mr Khan’s tweet had come a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had once again extended an olive branch to him on Wednesday, emphasising that “all political forces will have to sit together to take the country forward”.
Mr Chaudhry also reiterated the call for a meeting date and venue while speaking outside the Lahore High Court later on Friday.
Addressing the premier and Mr Tarar, he said: “You are making statements [so] you should move forward with it. Whatever venue [you decide and if there is an] invitation, Asad Umar is here. You talk. We are ready for that.”
The last time a conversation of all parties coming together had emerged was when the prime minister called an all-party conference (APC) in February and invited the country’s political leadership, including the PTI chief, to discuss ways to overcome the challenges faced by the country.
Mr Sharif had called the conference amid a surge in terrorist activity, with a suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines on Jan 30 claiming the lives of 84 people, mostly police officials.
PBC ready to call APC
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the top regulatory body of lawyers, on Friday offered mediation among parliamentary parties.
“In the present situation, the Pakistan Bar Council is ready to call/arrange APC and to invite all the central leadership of parliamentary parties to reconcile their disputes through dialogue and to hold free, fair and transparent elections to all assemblies on a mutually agreed time frame,” said a joint statement issued on behalf of PBC Vice Chairman Haroonur Rashid and Chairman Executive Committee Hassan Raza Pasha.
The statement said the PBC and the legal fraternity believed in the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, democracy and civil authority through a democratic process, and always resisted undemocratic destabilising the country.
The council said realising the gravity of the crisis and the grim situation in the country’s political, economic and social conditions, all parliamentary parties should resolve their disputes through dialogue and pay attention to other major public issues like inflation, the rupee’s devaluation and unemployment.
The lawyers’ body resolved that it had always strived for these cherished objectives and played its role in ensuring the continuity of the democratic process of the country as enshrined in the Constitution.
The PBC asserted it and the legal fraternity have “offered services for mediation among parliamentary parties in the past” through and APC and would continue to do so.
The council also endorsed the message of civil society and their invitation to form an informal group of mediators to engage with all parliamentary parties to start a reconciliation process and forge a national consensus.
The consensus should be achieved on holding free, fair and transparent elections to all assemblies on a mutually agreed time frame for the sake of the country, it said.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023
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