ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed his serious concerns about Pakistan’s economy and said if all stakeholders, including political parties, do not ignore or put aside their differences and start discussions, the economic situation may worsen.

“It was imperative to bring down the country’s political temperature and for this purpose I offer dialogue among all stakeholders. The current Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) coalition government is being “evasive” in talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). During the last one month, there has been no communication between the PTI and PML-N coalition government and no response has been received over requests for negotiations,” the president said in an interview with a foreign media outlet on Thursday.

He said former prime minister Imran Khan, who is also the PTI chief, had expressed satisfaction over the appointment of General Asim Munir as the current army chief when Alvi had consulted the PTI chairman over it. However, he said that he was not playing any role in conducting a dialogue between the current military leadership and Imran Khan.

The president emphasised on his offers of negotiations between the government alliance and the PTI, saying he had urged them to “sit together”.

“I am not talking about Imran Khan. I am saying that at least the political parties should negotiate with each other. After that, the major figures of the [political] parties can also meet,” he explained.

Speaking about the tension between former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the president blamed social media.

Misunderstandings arose because of undue importance given to social media, he reasoned, expressing the belief that the country’s decision-makers “are not able to handle social media properly” and that they should do a better job of it.

When pressed if the cause of “friction” between the former premier and the ex-army chief was the appointment of the then director-general (DG) of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), President Alvi said he would not talk about any specific person or incident.

Answering a question about Pakistan’s economic condition, the president said there was a chance of improvement and dismissed reports of Pakistan defaulting on its loans.

“I am telling everyone not to go in that direction rather, come together and work,” he said. “It would have been better if they listened to me. I am not a philosopher but, if you look at surveys of that time, it shows that there should have been a dialogue.”

Dr Alvi said it is an election year and emphasised that dialogue should be held before the polls. He added that matters related to elections should be sorted so there can be a focus on the economy and welfare projects.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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