Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal (L) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — Radio Pakistan/AFP
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal (L) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — Radio Pakistan/AFP

Planning minister Ahsan Iqbal, in reaction to a news report of a national reconciliation in the works, has attributed it to PTI Chairman Imran Khan feeling the “noose around him tightening” in the foreign funding case, Geo News reported.

“Perhaps Imran Khan feels the noose around him tightening in the foreign funding case and so he has suggested such talks take place,” Iqbal said.

The PML-N leader warned that no dialogue can be held for an “NRO” (concession under the National Reconciliation Ordinance) in the foreign funding case.

He said he is unaware of any plans for general elections to be held in October.

Establishment mulling ‘soft intervention’

The establishment is considering a “soft intervention” under which it may mediate between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the coalition parties — comprising PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, and others — sources told The News on Saturday, as political and economic crises grip Pakistan.

The sources told the publication that there are chances of a “grand dialogue” between the Opposition and the government with the intervention of the establishment.

The development comes as the Pakistani rupee continues its downward trend against the US dollar and the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) also witnessing constant plunges in recent sessions — both markets recording historic lows.

Not only this, but there has also been persistent political instability since Khan’s ouster from power with political parties in a tug of war over Punjab.

Hamza Shahbaz of the PML-N, a candidate of the present coalition government, took oath twice as Punjab chief minister in the last four months but with his appointment challenged time and again in the courts, the matter has now gone to him being appointed a trustee chief minister until Monday.

The situation has given way to the likelihood for the next general elections to take place soon, with the sources putting the time frame at October.

‘Khan ready for negotiations’

Senior journalist Suhail Warraich told Geo News that he met the ousted prime minister and that “Khan is ready for negotiations” with the coalition government on three issues: elections and election reforms, the economic agenda and the appointment of the army chief.

The journalist said that there are chances that Khan will write a letter to President Arif Alvi and he might help in holding negotiations between the PTI and the government.

“Everyone believes that the political parties should resolve their issues amicably,” the journalist said.


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