- Asif raises questions over election parleys between PTI, PDM teams.
- Umar casts doubts on PDM-led gov’s intentions about negotiations.
- Both sides are set to hold final round of discussion on May 2.
As the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are all set to hold the ‘final round’ of election talks on Tuesday, leaders from both the opposition and ruling alliance cast doubt on the success of negotiations.
Speaking to the media in Punjab’s Sialkot on Sunday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif raised questions over the ongoing parleys between the opposition PTI and the PDM teams to evolve consensus on holding the elections across the country simultaneously.
“What will be the result of the negotiations? They [PTI] are only making arguments,” the senior PML-N leader remarked.
Referring to the negotiation teams, the defence minister questioned: “Whether the Panchayat [council] has been set up in a legitimate way or in an illegitimate way”.
The PML-N leader said PTI chief Imran Khan had announced holding rallies in three different cities. “He should start the rallies quickly so that the negotiation process can be done away with.”
Similarly, PTI leader Asad Umar said that the PDM-led government’s intentions are not good about the negotiations.
Speaking to the media in Karachi, Umar said that the PTI was holding negotiations with the ruling PDM at the suggestion of the Supreme Court.
He also accused the ruling PDM of pushing the country towards “danger” for the sake of vested interest.
The former federal minister said the country cannot progress unless all sides agree to a unanimous accord to resolve the country’s issues.
He said that Tuesday (May 2) will be the last chance for negotiations.
Umar said that not holding elections within 90 days is a violation of the Constitution and added that the next polls after the imminent one would be held as per the new census.
The talks are being held to end an impasse over the timing of general elections across the country, which has fuelled political tensions in the country, with the Supreme Court also urging the political forces to negotiate and find out a solution to the prevailing political turmoil.
The court had directed the political parties to decide on the election date by April 26, but no progress was made till the deadline. In the April 25 hearing, the apex court mentioned that it cannot ask parties to hold negotiations forcefully.
Earlier today, PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry also announced that the party will hold rallies starting from May 1 if the negotiations with the PDM-led government fail.
Taking to Twitter, Fawad said that the PTI wants the negotiations to succeed, however, it has formulated a strategy in case the talks with the ruling coalition do not bear fruit.
He said that the rallies will begin in Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar under the leadership of Imran Khan, asking the supporters to get ready for the “major movement”.