Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Tensions ease in Pakistan; talks to end crisis gain momentum

Press Trust of India | Islamabad | Posted: September 4, 2014 9:22 pm

Pakistan’s political crisis that raised fears of instability and military intervention in the coup-prone country seemed to be headed towards resolution with efforts to seal a negotiated settlement between the government and protesters gaining momentum on Thursday.

In an indication of easing of tensions between the Nawaz Sharif-led government and protesters, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-I- Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) are ready to vacate the high-security Constitution Avenue area.

Later, the workers of PAT and PTI vacated the lawn of the Parliament House and moved to D-Chowk where most of PTI supporters are camped in front of the Parliament.

“The government is ready to accept all other demands of PTI and PAT other than the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” Nisar said.

Prime Minister Sharif today held a meeting with leaders of political parties at his National Assembly chamber and discussed the current situation. After the joint parliamentary session, Sharif was briefed by the government committee.

The Interior Minister said the government had prepared its response to the written demands of PTI and will hand it over to them. The government’s response to the verbal demands of PAT had also been prepared, he added.

Talks between the two warring sides — government and protesters — were held late Wednesday night.

Two separate meetings took place overnight with the first one being held between the government committee and the PTI and the second between PAT, government and opposition parties’ ‘Jirga’, a committee of opposition politicians led by Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq.

Though the talks were inconclusive yet leaders from both sides said their were some positive outcomes from the talks.

Rehman Malik, Pakistan Peoples Party leader and a member of the opposition ‘Jirga’, said the deadlock between protesting parties and the government is nearing its end.

“In three days, we will see more positive results. Both sides should compromise —- give and take,” he told reporters in Karachi.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif today met the Prime Minister’s brother and Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz at Army House in Rawalpindi. The two discussed the political situation.

After the meeting between PAT, government and opposition parties, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said, “During the meeting we have agreed to continue talks and resolve matter through dialogue. We have also decided not to comment on any development until we reach a decision, as it might affect the dialogue process.” d

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