PTI leader Asad Qaiser has called on the government to publicly announce its readiness to engage in negotiations with the PTI, while also expressing his party’s willingness to consider constitutional amendments for adjustments to the election schedule beyond the 90-day requirement under the law.

“We want the government to sit together [for talks on elections] and we are also ready for a constitutional amendment, if for one time, the [polls] can be extended beyond 90 days. What more flexibility can we offer?” he said during an interview with DawnNewsTV’s Adil Shahzeb on Wednesday.

The PTI leader said it was the responsibility of the government to officially make a move for [talks] and the PM must announce that they want to hold talks. “Then we will sit and settle the matters together — this is the need of the hour that political leaders talk things out.”

The prospect of negotiations between the government and the PTI-led opposition were hinted at two weeks ago, after both Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan displayed some flexibility in their stance towards talks.

Imran had said he was ready to talk to everyone except the “thieves and looters” and tweeted that he would not shy away from making any sacrifice for the country’s best interests, progress, and democracy. “In this context, I am ready to take every step forward and talk to anyone,” he had stated.

Imran’s offer for talks had come a day after PM Shehbaz extended an olive branch to the PTI chief, emphasising that all political forces would have to sit for dialogue to rid the country of the ongoing political and economic crises.

As part of his push for negotiations, Qaiser asserted that the PTI is ready to confront any obstacles that may arise, but he highlighted the importance of prioritising the country and its citizens.

“He [Imran] has repeatedly spoken about the need for negotiations, but unfortunately, his calls for talks are often misunderstood as a sign of weakness,” Qaiser remarked.

Qaiser questioned, “What will become of our country? At the end of the day, politics should be for the betterment of the nation and its people.”

He claimed that the government’s decision to flout court orders on the Punjab poll date would be unconstitutional and indicative of a government that is only focused on its own interests, further eroding its popularity and paving the way for its “political demise”.

The PTI leader emphasised the importance of adhering to the law with regard to the election date. He argued that even a small fluctuation in the poll date must be approved according to the law to ensure that the election is conducted in a manner that is fair and just, and free from any objections.

Qaiser said anyone losing polls must not raise a hue and cry over the result. “This is what we want.”

He criticised the government’s “confrontational approach” and stressed the need for constructive dialogue. He also highlighted the PTI’s willingness to support a constitutional amendment for the poll date extension, saying it demonstrated the party’s commitment to a fair and transparent election process.

The former National Assembly speaker, however, expressed doubts about the government’s commitment to resolving the ongoing political crisis through constructive dialogue. He questioned whether the government was truly interested in ending the crisis and initiating talks, stressing that the needs of Pakistan and its people must take precedence.

Qaiser said he believed that those at the helm were “far removed from sanity”. The frustration boiling in the country is dangerous and this will sweep everyone away, he told the interviewer.

He also voiced his apprehensions about the prevailing political situation, stating his belief that those in power were not thinking clearly. He cautioned that the simmering frustration among the masses was reaching a “dangerous level”, and posed a significant threat to the country’s stability.

He insisted on the importance of national unity in creating an environment that was conducive to fair and transparent elections, and acceptable to all stakeholders. He highlighted the need for the people of the country to exercise their right to choose their leaders and determine the future of the country.

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