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Monday, May 27, 2024

PML-N and PPP invite PTI for political dialogue

Acting President Yousuf Raza Gilani and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal emphasized the government's openness to talks, but stressed that the PTI must decide with whom it wishes to negotiate.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), two major parties in the ruling coalition, have extended an invitation to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to abandon street protests and engage in political dialogue with the government.

Acting President Yousuf Raza Gilani and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal emphasized the government’s openness to talks, but stressed that the PTI must decide with whom it wishes to negotiate.

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In separate media interactions, Gilani, speaking in Lahore, reiterated the government’s willingness to negotiate. However, he noted that the PTI seems intent on negotiating with other parties. “The PTI wants to carve its path by confronting the establishment and the government in court,” he remarked.

“Our doors are open for meaningful talks, but the PTI must decide with whom they want to negotiate,” said Gilani, emphasizing the need for political unity to address the country’s current instability.

Gilani recalled that during their time in opposition under the PTI-led government, they were willing to engage in political talks, despite the PTI’s reluctance to reciprocate even while in power.

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Addressing questions, Gilani emphasized the PPP’s commitment to supporting the current government, noting ongoing internal consultations regarding their potential involvement in the cabinet. “The PPP has never indicated that it is not part of the government; we are aligned with the government in all matters,” he told reporters.

He further explained, “Consultations within the party are underway regarding joining the ministries. Following these discussions, a decision will be made about participating in the cabinet at both the Centre and in Punjab.” Gilani reiterated, “The Pakistan Peoples Party is part of the government and supports it in all endeavors.”

In response to a question about the defamation bill, Gilani mentioned a detailed discussion with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He added that Bilawal had gone to meet President Asif Zardari, and upon his return, he would outline his action plan.

However, Gilani emphasized that journalists’ concerns regarding the recently passed defamation bill by the Punjab Assembly should be addressed. He refrained from commenting on judiciary-establishment differences and stressed the need for public relief in the budget.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, speaking to the media after distributing laptops to students at the University of Narowal, reiterated the government’s openness to negotiations with all parties.

“The PTI is in government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and should serve the people there. I advise the PTI leadership to abandon street protests and enter the parliamentary houses to play a positive role as opposition,” he said.

He criticized the PTI for attempting to use the courts after political defeats. “The PTI wants to make its way by fighting the establishment and the government in court,” he charged.

He claimed that uncertainty in the country was due to a court decision. “Our doors are open to all parties for purposeful and meaningful negotiations, but these can only happen with a positive agenda,” he said.

The minister expressed hope that the next five years would protect the economy from political confrontation, stressing the need to move away from rallies towards public service competition.

Iqbal noted that the country’s economy was on the right track as the stock market index had crossed the 76,000 mark, indicating strong investor confidence in government policies.

“We have distributed around 1 million laptops to youth, and despite criticism, Pakistan is now the third-largest freelancing country in the world. We aim to provide the youth with a digital platform to position Pakistan among the top 10 economies by its 100th birthday.”

Earlier, Iqbal criticized the previous government’s performance, claiming it was imposed through rigged elections in 2018, leading to internal unrest and extremism.

“Instead of fostering a culture of abuse and hate, we are providing modern higher education, digital training, and equal employment opportunities to the youth. The current government has changed the country’s direction, bringing stability and improvement in every sector,” he said.