Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is chairing a meeting of the ruling alliance today (Wednesday) before negotiations with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the Supreme Court’s directions.
The meeting was attended by Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Attorney general for Pakistan, federal ministers, and other leaders.
The legal team briefed the coalition on the election fund case and negotiations with the PTI, according to sources. It was reported earlier that there are chances of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif attending the meeting virtually from Saudi Arabia.
Supreme Court directions
On April 20, the top court adjourned the hearing of the petition till April 27 after the key ruling parties – PPP and PML-N — had assured the Supreme Court they would sit with the PTI on April 26 and try to find a solution on the election date. A three-member bench of the top court — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — has sought a progress report on the talks by April 27.
‘Disagreement’ among ruling allies
According to media reports, a dispute emerged among the ruling parties over holding talks with the PTI on April 18, after Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) bid to bring both sides to the negotiation table. During the meeting, a disagreement took place among the parties in the coalition government over holding talks with the opposition party as some believed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan could not be trusted, while others insisted that political forces should not shut channels for negotiations.
PPP Chairman Bilawal had stressed holding dialogue with the opposition, with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Balochistan National Party, Balochistan Awami Party, Chaudhry Salik, and Mohsin Dawar backing him, sources said. Bilawal said closing the door for talks is against his party’s principles and “undemocratic”.
But representatives of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) rejected Bilawal’s opinion and said that it isn’t in the coalition’s interests to hold talks with the deposed prime minister – who was ousted from the office via a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly in April last year. Later, the PPP supremo also held a separate meeting with the JUI-F chief to convince him.