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Saturday, February 24, 2024  
13 Shaban 1445  

Election talks: Dar says both sides agree on same-day elections

Both sides exchange written demands
PTI and government representatives participate in the third round of negotiations on Tuesday.
PTI and government representatives participate in the third round of negotiations on Tuesday.

The third round of talks between ruling alliance and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf took place on Tuesday, with Ishaq Dar claiming afterwards that both sides had agreed in principle that elections should be held throughout the country on the same day.

However, Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the media that the exact date of dissolution of assemblies or date of elections was not agreed upon.

Both sides exchanged a written set of demands and consulted their higher leaderships before and after the session.

The date for the next session of talks has not been set as of now.

The PTI’s charter of demands includes eight points and the party has decided that they will present their demands in the Supreme Court as well.

Sources had said earlier that that the PTI had pressed for elections should be held between Muharram and Eid ul Azha, which would roughly fall in the second or third week of August.

The government has insisted that it wants to present the next budget in June before things go towards elections.

Government team’s press conference

“Both sides have shown flexibility today,” Dar said, speaking after the session.

“Overall, the talks went on in a positive atmosphere,” he said.

He added that both sides had agreed that elections should take place simultaneously across Pakistan and also agreed that elections should be held under a caretaker set up.

Yousaf Raza Gillani also added that both sides that had also agreed that election results would be accepted by all parties.

Asked about when talks would resume, Dar said that both sides had to consult the leaders of their party which would take time and the next date would be announced later on.

PTI’s press conference

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the PTI had formally asked for assemblies in Sindh, Balochistan and Center to be dissolved by May 14. Immediate dissolution of assemblies could pave way for elections to be held on the same day throughout the country.

Qureshi said that PTI had entered negotiations to do its best to reach an agreement and had shown flexibility for ‘national consensus’.

He also added that they had told the government delegation that they would be willing to return to the national assembly to give a legal cover to elections, as a one-time exception.

“Elections within 90 days is a constitutional compulsion,” he said.

“We told them that talks should not be used as dleay tactics,” Qureshi said, adding that statements by Khawaja Asif and Javed Latif during the last few days have not inspired confidence.

He also confirmed that PTI would submit their set of demands in the Supreme COurt as well.

Rumours of breakthrough before talks

As the third round of talks approached, sources claimed that a breakthrough could be reached soon.

The sources added that there could be a consensus on dissolving the assemblies after the ruling alliance presents the budget in June this year.

The exercise to break the ice between the sides was started on Thursday in the weeks-long deadlock on elections between the ruling coalition and the PTI.

Political experts have stressed the need for resolving the crisis via dialogue, hinting that the people and politicians would be at the receiving end if deadlock persists among the PTI and rulers.

The opposition delegation comprises PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Ali Zafar. Meanwhile, the PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Azam Nazeer Tarar and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq along with PPP’s Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani and Syed Naveed Qamar were representing the government.

If the elections were agreed to be held in late August or early September, the May 14 elections to the Punjab Assembly, would be delayed, sources said. They feared that the negotiation process could conclude if there was no consensus today.

Meanwhile, PTI’s Asad Umar said that there was a last chance to dissolve assemblies after the meeting. He alleged that the government’s intention was to violate the Constitution in an apparent reference to the government’s intention to not hold elections.

He claimed that democracy was derailed in the country after the “lawlessness” in the country. He lamented that speeches were being made against the judiciary and the police were raiding the house of political workers.

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