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Deadlock persists in Pakistan as third round of talks yields no result

Publication Date : 24-08-2014


After the third round of talks between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)and government delegations conclude on Saturday, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi proposed that prime minister Nawaz Sharif should resign for a period of 30 days for an independent probe into alleged poll rigging.

Separately PTI chairman Imran Khan persisted in his demand for the resignation of the prime minister and told his supporters today that the sit-ins will continue across the country till the time this demand is met.

Speaking to media representatives, Qureshi said that the prime minister should step down for a time period required for a judicial commission to probe into rigging allegations for the 2013 general elections.

The PTI leader said a parliamentary committee has been formed for electoral reforms and that it has expressed willingness to participate.

He said that there was a difference of opinion between the government and PTI negotiating teams, in that the government believes the 2013 general elections were free, fair and transparent, while PTI’s stance is not hidden from anyone.

However, the government team has proposed to form a judicial commission comprised of SC judges to probe into allegations of rigging in last year’s polls.

“We have accepted the proposal subject to certain conditions, which includes resignation of PM Sharif to keep the environment uninfluenced,” he said.

He claimed that democracy will not be derailed through his party’s demands. “We haven’t talked about dissolution of assemblies or formation of a national government.”

In a bid to muster political capital against the protests, Nawaz Sharif has turned to his long term rival Zadari, the husband of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the political supremo of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Zadari flew in from Dubai on Friday evening and held talks with Sharif in Lahore earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Ahsan Iqbal, who is a member of government’s negotiating team, told the media that resignation of PM Sharif was not on the cards.

He said that his party was ready to resolve the issue according to the law and constitution but not to anyone’s stubbornness.

Iqbal said the Parliament and provincial assemblies have passed unanimous resolutions rejecting the politics of agitation and demands of the PM’s resignations and dissolution of assemblies.

“The lawyers across the country have also shown unity with political forces and rejected PTI and PAT’s unconstitutional demands,” he added.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Canada-based cleric Tahirul Qadri have led thousands of supporters demonstrating outside the Parliament this week calling for Sharif to go.

Khan insists the May 2013 general election, which swept Sharif to power in a landslide, was rigged and therefore the prime minister should step down.

Qadri and Khan's protest movements are not formally allied and have different goals, beyond toppling the government. But their combined pressure – and numbers – has given extra heft to the rallies.



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