PTI, govt resume talks in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf committee has reached a local hotel to hold dialogue with the panel representing the federal government.

The committee comprising Shah Mehmood Qurshi, Javed Hashmi, Assad Umar and others talked to media before entering the hotel, expressing their will to demand prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation during the talks.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah Mehmood Qureshi also warned of countrywide protests if the PTI demands were not met.

Javed Hashmi said that Asif Ali Zardari had endorsed PTI demands but a Phd degree was required to understand his politics.

A day after its called off talks with PM Nawaz’s emissaries, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf friday agreed to to resume talks with the government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz.

Following a meeting of the PTI’s core committee today, senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad that his party was now ready to engage in negotiations with the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) led government.

Qureshi said that the government had already started removing containers in Islamabad, while an FIR has also been registered against culprits who earlier attacked his Multan residence. He said that he will soon contact Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar to further play his part in facilitating the talks with the government.

The developments Friday came shortly after PTI lawmakers submitted their resignations from the National Assembly.

The party, which leads the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been engaged in protests and sit-ins against the Nawaz government over alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

The PTI is demanding electoral reforms and a change in the election commission, and the resignation of the prime minister.

Following the party’s core committee meeting, television channels quoted PTI leader Naeemul Haq as saying that it was possible that the prime minister could depart on a long leave until a probe into electoral rigging is completed.

Haq said that the core committee discussed matters in detail with legal advisors.

“The constitution allows the prime minister to go on a long leave,” he was quoted as saying. “We hope we will meet the government delegation soon.”

However, PTI senior leader Arif Alvi soon denied that the party was willing to show flexibility in its demand for the prime minister’s resignation.

“There is no flexibility. Our stance is still the same as our original position: that the prime minister should resign and then the government can consider our other five demands,” he said.

“When the government’s negotiating team comes, we will see their response and then react. But there is no such decision as yet from the core committee,” he said.

Alvi said that “another window of negotiations” had now opened and that the government should seize the opportunity otherwise the impasse might linger on.

The ball is in the government’s court, and I urge the government to look into our demands seriously,” he said.

The two sides are expected to meet for talks later tonight, he said.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq told reporters in Faisalabad that things were looking brighter now and that there were chances that issues might be resolved through dialogue.

He urged National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq not to accept resignations of PTI MNAs.