LAHORE: Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq launched a “consensus offensive” on Saturday, holding meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan within a span of a few hours and reported “positive response” from both sides to his initiative, aimed at bringing the warring sides closer to holding talks on the issue of elections.
Mr Haq first called on PM Shehbaz, and later met Mr Khan at their residences in Model Town and Zaman Park, respectively, a JI press release said.
While party sources see the Zaman Park meeting as a major development on the way to prospective consultations among the two parties, Mr Khan said PTI is always ready for dialogue within the ambit of the Constitution, just not with the corrupt and looters of national wealth.
During their meeting, Mr Haq suggested a committee should be set up to develop a larger consensus for holding elections in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eventually the whole country.
Siraj claims he received positive response from both sides; plans to meet Zardari after Eid
Mr Khan, flanked by his chief of staff Senator Shibli Faraz, also discussed the political and security situation across the country with the Jamaat chief, as well as the alleged human rights violations being committed by the incumbent PDM and Punjab caretaker governments.
Both parties agreed to continue consultations on a regular basis.
As part of his efforts to bring all parties to the negotiating table, Mr Haq plans to meet PPP leader Asif Zardari after Eid and expects a breakthrough in the next two weeks, sources in JI say.
Earlier, in his meeting with PM Shehbaz, Mr Haq said that being the prime minister, he was responsible for the 230 million citizens of Pakistani. Hence, he added, the PM “should come forward before the others with [an] open heart to seek a solution to the prevailing crises”.
The JI leader pointed out that Pakistan was simultaneously hit by political, constitutional and economic crises. These problems, he added, could only be solved if politicians started a dialogue.
He stressed that judiciary and establishment were not the right forums to approach for ending the political deadlock. He said all parties should develop consensus on general elections.
Both PM Shehbaz and Imran Khan appreciated Mr Haq’s efforts and assured him of their full cooperation, agreeing that elections were the way forward to pull the country out of prevailing economic, political and constitutional crises.
Mr Sharif said PML-N was ready to cooperate with JI if the latter wanted to play a positive role on the issues of national importance, according to the Jamaat’s press release. He pointed out that everyone should come out of stubbornness and show flexibility to develop some consensus.
JI deputy emir Liaquat Baloch and secretary general Ameerul Azim accompanied Mr Haq during the meetings.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2023