ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: The PTI on Saturday reiterated its readiness to hold talks with the “real” stakeholders, provided a “suitable atmosphere” is ensured where the party’s public mandate is respected and cases against its workers and leaders are withdrawn.

The statement was made during an informal meeting atte­nded by Leader of the Oppo­sition in the Senate Shibli Faraz and reporters of electronic media at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Islamabad.

When asked if the PTI was willing to hold negotiations with political parties, Mr Faraz said as a political party, PTI is always ready to hold talks. “However, there should be an atmosphere conducive to negotiations, which must be conducted within the parameters of the Constitution. The current atmosphere is not suitable for negotiations,” an insider quoted the PTI leader as saying.

He also said that negotiations will be held with those who have the real power. However, he did not mention whether the talks will be held with the establishment or political parties.

PTI’s ‘real intentions’ exposed: PML-N

Similar statements have been issued by PTI founding chairman Imran Khan and information secretary Raoof Hasan.

“It is the stance of the PTI that it is ready for the negotiations if its mandate, as the largest political party, is accepted and illegal cases are withdrawn,” said a PTI office-bearer.

When asked if the PTI was willing to speak to political parties, he said the PTI had in the past held negotiations with political parties for the date of elections, but nothing was decided. “So negotiations can be held with political parties again, but they might not reach any conclusion as political parties don’t have any status in the current situation,” he said.

However, a few days back, PTI leader Shehryar Afridi had said that negotiations can only be held with the establishment.

PML-N response

The PTI statement drew criticism from the PML-N on Saturday, with its leader Khawaja Saad Rafique stating that the “cat has come out of the bag”.

He criticised the PTI’s dual stance of wanting to engage in dialogue with the military while also confronting it.

Mr Rafique emphasised that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should cooperate with the Centre by remaining within constitutional limits. He warned that if PTI leader and KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur continued his aggressive stance, it would be challenging to maintain governance and engage in conflict simultaneously.

The PML-N leader also stressed the importance of dialogue between political parties, stating, “There is no concept of vandalism in democratic politics.” He linked the lack of communication with politicians to the vandalism events that occurred on May 9 last year.

PML-N’s senior leader Khurrum Dastgir said that as long as PTI continues to believe that only its votes are legitimate and others are not, it cannot sit with other political forces. “PTI needs to engage in dialogue with politicians to strengthen democracy,” he added.

The other day, PML-N parliamentary leader Senator Irfan Siddiqui, speaking in the upper house, had urged the PTI to hold talks to solve the crises facing the country. He noted that politicians faced ups and downs and governments came and went but they have to leave some traditions and legacy for future generations.

Talking about reconciliation, he had said it was a two-way process. “We are ready to extend an olive branch to PTI and let us shake hands,” he said and urged the party of ex-prime minister Imran Khan to “come forward for Pakistan and let us sit together”.

Referring to KP Chief Minister Gandapur’s reported warning that he would “attack” Islamabad in protest, Mr Siddiqui had urged PTI to do away with such tone. If PTI can shake hands with its worst political enemies such as Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, then why it cannot sit with the incumbent government in the interest of the country, he had asked.

However, PTI’s parliamentary leader Senator Ali Zafar had stressed that there was dire need of working together while keeping aside political differences or else matters of grave concern would be forgotten and ignored. He said parliament had lost its integrity and become a laughing stock for foreign countries because it was discharging its functions in total negation of the rules of business.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...
Population crisis
Updated 11 Jul, 2024

Population crisis

Moreover, successful programmes, such as Lady Health Workers, can be utilised to provide information and reproductive health services to women.
Taxing agriculture
11 Jul, 2024

Taxing agriculture

OUR inability to collect sufficient tax revenue is resulting in persistently high fiscal deficits, forcing ...
Negligence at PHOTA
11 Jul, 2024

Negligence at PHOTA

THE impression that the state is being careless towards aspects of organ trade control is damaging. Recent news ...