Pakistani government and opposition talks fail to end poll stalemate

ISLAMABAD: Talks between Pakistani coalition government and opposition led by ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on the fate of the country’s elections concluded without any breakthrough, with both sides saying more work was needed to resolve the political and constitutional crisis.
The talks had started on April 27 in a vicious political atmosphere after the ruling coalition parties blocked, through parliament, all steps leading to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the holding of elections in the country’s most populous province, Punjab, on May 14.
The PTI had dissolved its government in Punjab in January in an apparent attempt to force the federal government to dissolve the National Assembly (NA) and call a snap election. A few days later, the party also dissolved its provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest.
However, with just 10 days until the deadline, it seems unlikely that polls in Punjab will take place on May 14. already been challenged by parliament.
Speaking to reporters at midnight after the third and final round of talks, Finance Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ishaq Dar, who led the government delegation, said the two parties had agreed to hold national and provincial elections on a single date basis under watchdog setups, but the date was yet to be decided.
During the talks, the government insisted on holding all elections after NA’s current five-year term ends in August, while the opposition demanded the dissolution of the federal and provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan by 14 May, apparently seeking national elections in mid-August. .
Former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who led the PTI team, regretted that no decision could be reached on the “workable proposals” put forward by his party. “Determining the date of the elections is a complicated process,” he said, urging the authorities to implement the supreme court’s order to hold elections in Punjab on May 14.
He said the PTI was ready to go to the National Assembly to give constitutional cover to the delayed elections if the government decided to dissolve the NA and the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies by May 14.
The ruling coalition does not seem willing to hold elections before October, as evidenced by recent remarks made by members of the federal cabinet. Defense Minister and PML-N stalwart Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the talks with the PTI were an “exercise in futility”. Another PML-N minister, Javed Latif, referring to Imran’s party, said there was no point talking to a “terrorist” group.
While the talks were underway, police raided the home of PTI chairman and former Punjab chief minister Pervez Elahi in Lahore, along with 33 party members. The PTI called the raids and arrests an attempt to sabotage the talks, but decided to stay on the table.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl