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LAHORE, Nov 18: People’s Party Parliamentarians president Makhdoom Amin Fahim sees no chance of the dialogue process between former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf resuming because “both sides have adopted extreme positions”.

The president’s spokesman Rashid Qureshi holds Ms Bhutto’s confrontation with the Pakistan Muslim League responsible for the suspension of talks and a deadlock in the process of national reconciliation.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, Mr Fahim said although the United States wanted the liberal and moderate forces to work together for democracy, he did not see any possibility of resumption of the stalled talks. “Both sides have adopted extreme positions and the situation the country is passing through at present is mind-boggling. I don’t know what is the way out.”

Mr Qureshi said the problem lay with the PPP chairperson, not the president. “Why are you asking the presidency, ask her,” said the spokesman who saw no hope of the two sides returning to the negotiating table.

Mr Fahim said dialogue was possible only if both sides were willing, but at present they were going in the opposite directions.

He did not give a clear reply when asked if the PPP would accept a judgment by the present Supreme Court upholding Gen Musharraf’s election. The real question was of the notification of the result which had been stayed by the ‘previous court’, he said.

Answering a question, Mr Fahim said the Nov 21 meeting of various parties was aimed at holding consultation, while a date for an all-parties’ conference would be decided by the participants.

When it was pointed out that the PML (Nawaz) and Jamaat-i-Islami wanted the conference to be hosted by a party or a person other than the PPP, Mr Fahim said it was a complex situation which could be resolved only if all the leaders sat together. “No issue can be settled by staying out of the process,” he said.

In response to a question, he said only Ms Bhutto could decide whether to change the date of the conference.


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