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Pakistan

Deadlock on elections: Dar says govt, PTI agree on holding polls on same day across Pakistan

  • PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi says govt and his party couldn't agree on the date for the dissolution of the national assembly and elections
Published May 2, 2023 Updated May 3, 2023

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Tuesday that both the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have agreed in principle during the third round of talks to end the election deadlock and for polls to be held throughout the country on the same day, Aaj News reported.

“Both sides have shown flexibility today,” Dar said, adding that it was agreed by both sides that elections should take place under a caretaker setup.

PPP’S Yousaf Raza Gillani added that both sides agreed that election results would be accepted by all parties.

Talking to the media separately, PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi also confirmed this development, saying that his party has “shown flexibility for national consensus”.

However, Qureshi said that the government and PTI couldn’t agree on the dissolution date of the national assembly and elections.

He said the PTI hoped that the election in Punjab would take place on May 14, as per the Supreme Court’s orders.

The development comes as members of the ruling coalition and opposition PTI met again at the Parliament House on Tuesday for a third round of talks on elections.

The coalition government was represented by Ishaq Dar, Saad Rafique, Naveed Qamar, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Azam Nazeer Tarar, and Kishwar Zahra while the PTI delegation was represented by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, and Barrister Ali Zafar.

The process began after Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the top court could not force the government to hold dialogue with the opposition.

Earlier, the top court had ordered the attorney general to file a progress report on April 27 (today) regarding political dialogue for holding elections simultaneously of the National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies.

The apex court had asked all political parties to come up with a consensus on the date for holding simultaneous general elections quickly, otherwise, the court noted, its order regarding the Punjab Assembly elections on May 14 would come into force.

The first round of talks was held on Thursday. The second round of negotiations concluded on Friday and both sides agreed to hold the final round of talks on Tuesday (May 2).

After the end of the talks, Dar had said each side had tabled two proposals, which would be presented to the government and PTI leadership.

“Some progress was made today,” he said back then, adding that the “almost final round” of talks would resume on Tuesday.

Following the end of talks, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated major progress was achieved during the talks.

“Both sides presented their view and we will now consult our respective senior leaderships and convey the points raised during negotiation,” he said. “On our side, we will take Imran Khan into confidence.”

Moreover, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said talks were held in a nice and encouraging environment.

“Arrests of political workers can mess up the progress,” he said. “We made our demands as per the constitution.”

PTI Chairman Imran Khan said earlier during the day that he instructed party leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Shah Mahmood Qureshi to initiate talks only if government is ready to dissolve the assemblies and announce a date for fresh elections in Pakistan.

PTI chief also stated that the “ball” was now in the government’s court on the matter of elections.

According to details, PTI wants the government to dissolve assemblies after the approval of budget 2023-24.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif earlier said that the PDM should refrain from holding talks with PTI as it is a “waste of time”.

Speaking outside Parliament House, he added that the final decisions were made collectively.

He said the government had already stated that it lacked the funds to hold elections on separate dates and that it was “not financially possible” to organize elections on different dates.

“Secondly, if elections are held on different dates, I believe it would cause irreparable damage to the federation”, he said, adding that it would increase the anti-Punjab sentiment in other provinces.

Comments

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IMTIAZ CASSUM AGBOATWALA May 02, 2023 11:48pm
Hope both parties agree not to fight over trivial matters. Only the enemies of Pakistan will laugh.
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bonce richard May 03, 2023 12:51am
@IMTIAZ CASSUM AGBOATWALA, Our corrupted army wants a fair election to be held in the country.
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ABDULrazzaq May 03, 2023 06:32am
Nice
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