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November 6, 2019

Second round: Govt-opposition talks end in deadlock

Top Story

November 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The second round of talks between the government negotiating committee and the opposition’s Rehbar Committee ended in a deadlock on Tuesday, with both sides sticking to their guns. However, the encouraging development was that both sides had agreed to keep the talks door open.

The talks hit the deadlock on the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, as the government committee refused to consider this demand, while the Rehbar Committee stuck to it, refusing to back down.

According to sources, the government negotiating team told the Rehbar Committee that they were ready to look into their constitutional demands except the resignation of prime minister and dissolution of assemblies.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Convener Rehbar Committee Akram Khan Durrani said they won’t back down on their demands of resignation of prime minister and announcement of fresh elections.

“Our demand is that the prime minister should step down and fresh elections be announced without involving the army,” he said.

Chairman government negotiating team Defense Minister Pervez Khattak said the talks were held in a good atmosphere and will continue, as both sides had their own stances but still they were sparing no effort to find out the middle ground with the opposition.

“The talks will continue and both sides will consult their leadership. We have held talks before and they still continue to end the deadlock. We have our own stance and they have their own,” Khattak added.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, who is also a member of the government negotiating committee and met Fazlur Rehman along with Ch Shujaat Hussain Monday night, was hopeful of positive conclusion of talks.

Responding to a question, Pervez Elahi said the negotiations were held in a good environment with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Rahber Committee and more time was required for a headway.

About the Islamic provisions, he said there was complete consensus and two opinions in this regard. Asked about any flexibility in the opposition’s stance on the resignation of prime minister, he said the matter will come under discussion later on.

Meanwhile, though the deadlock between the government and opposition continues, the government agreed to probe the allegations of rigging either through the parliamentary committee or through a judicial commission.

Sources said the government was also ready for reforms in the election laws, as the government committee had told the Rahber Committee that the government also wanted to see an autonomous and strong Election Commission of Pakistan.

The government negotiating team comprised Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood and Asad Umar, while the Rahber Committee comprised Akram Khan Durrani, Ahsan Iqbal, Nayyer Hussain Bukhari, Farhatullah Babar, Main Iftikhar, Owais Noorani, Hashim Babar, Amir Muqam, Tahir Bizenjo and Shafiq Pasroori.