Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has announced that the government will resume unconditional talks with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), but he maintained that talks will be held within the realm of Constitution and law. He was addressing a press conference here on Wednesday. While welcoming the PTI’s decision to resume talks, he expressed the hope that negotiations with PTI would be resumed on Thursday, once he established contact with the PTI leadership.
He told media persons that during a meeting of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the party gave a green signal to the resumption of dialogue. “We are ready for an unconditional but meaningful dialogue with PTI. Without compromising on principles, negotiations should be conducted within the framework of the Constitution,” he maintained. He disclosed that PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal would also be a part of government’s negotiation team.
On the occasion, he also requested the PTI to postpone its scheduled protest demonstrations for an indefinite period; however, he clarified, this is not a precondition for the resumption of talks. Responding to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s comment that ‘talks will only resume if the government endorses the judicial commission’s findings’, Dar averred that the Prime Minister has already said that if the commission finds that the elections were systematically rigged he will immediately step down. “However, all parties should humbly accept the findings of the judicial commission,” he added.
He also welcomed the PTI’s decision to withdraw its demand for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. “An elected prime minister could not be unseated on anyone’s wish,” he added. Regarding the PTI Chairman’s statement that his party will not return to the Assemblies even if the commission says there was no rigging, he said PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi had clarified that there was a misunderstanding and added that Imran has been misquoted in the media.
To a question on the PTI’s demand of involving ISI and MI in the judicial commission, he said this is not possible under the law and the PTI has realised that; however, having said that it is the commission’s prerogative to seek assistance from anyone, whether they are intelligence officials or journalists.
To another question, he said the members of Election Commission are constitutional posts with a fixed tenure and hence the removal of the existing members will be an unconstitutional move. According to him, they have to resolve the matter amicably as soon as possible so as to minimise economic losses. The PML-N government had put the national economy on the right track and it was showing progress and Pakistan was on a take-off position till the ‘dharnas’ started. “The PTI should postpone the protests and let us make the talks successful, which is in the national interest,” he added. The Minister also said a parliamentary committee is already working on the electoral reforms and they welcome the PTI to join the committee and giver their suggestions so as to make future election free and transparent.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT