PTI, govt to keep talks under wraps

Chief negotiators from the govt and the PTI Ishaq Dar and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.—AFP/AP


ISLAMABAD: The government and the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have decided they will not be making public the content of their dialogue which formally resumes on Sunday.

“Both sides have decided that the content of their meetings will not be made public, to discourage speculation,” Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who is a member of the government team, told reporters on Friday.

He said that both sides were determined to make the dialogue result-oriented, but, he regretted, recent remarks made by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made from atop his container on D-Chowk. “Imran Khan should cool political temperatures and avoid making fiery speeches from the container,” he said.

Also read: Govt, PTI engage in talks about talks

Mr Iqbal said the government was sincere in resolving the four month-long crisis through talks, otherwise Imran Khan’s Thursday night speech contained enough provocation for the government to wind up the process.

The minister expressed the hope that the outcome of the talks would be swift and positive, and said that the government had no objection to the two demands presented by the PTI with regard to the investigation into alleged rigging during the elections of 2013 and reforms of electoral rules.

“The government is ready to investigate whether there was systematic rigging in the elections. The PTI’s second demand is related to electoral reforms, which are also being demanded by nearly all other political parties to ensure the system is fair and transparent,” he said.

Reforming electoral rules, he said, was a national issue and the PTI should participate in the meetings of the parliamentary committee con­cerned.

He said dialogue had resumed in a cordial atmosphere, adding that formal negotiations would be held on Sunday in which Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and PTI Vice Chair­man Shah Mehmood Qureshi will head their teams.

PTI leader Asad Umar told Dawn that the talks would begin on Sunday. He also said that points discussed in the meeting would not be made public. He said there was no deadlock about the PTI’s demand about an ordinance making the commission’s report binding on the government.

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