After simmering political tensions between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for more than a year, it appears the ice has begun to melt as both parties have formed panels to engage in indirect discussion.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) emir Sirajul Haq, who met separately with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday, broke the deadlock between the two warring parties and claimed a “positive response” from both sides for beginning negotiations on the subject of elections. Instead of speaking directly to one another, both parties will now conduct their discussions through the JI.
The PML-N assigned Ayaz Sadiq and Saad Rafique to hold discussions as a constructive reaction to the Jamaat-e-Islami’s “consensus offensive,” while the PTI assembled a three-person panel consisting of Pervez Khattak, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, and Ejaz Chaudhry for the purpose.
The JI gave the go-ahead for Sadiq and Saad Rafique to contact them for negotiations. PTI did, however, repeat its position that a polling date should be sought.
The JI emir had proposed the creation of a committee to forge a wider consensus for the conduct of elections in the nation, while Imran-Siraj’s meeting is hailed by PTI officials as a significant breakthrough in resolving the impasse between the country’s major political groups. The door of discussions would continue to be kept open on a regular basis, PTI and JI said.
The JI, on the other hand, is expected to call a multi-party conference following Eidul Fitr with the sole purpose of choosing a date for conducting general elections nationwide on a single day.
The planned multi-party moot will attempt to persuade the ruling coalition to agree to hold general elections before October, while also convincing the PTI to relinquish its demand that the poll be held (especially in Punjab) on May 14.
After preliminary discussions with various parties on the matter, the location and date of the proposed MPC will be decided, according to JI information secretary Qaiser Sharif.