Negotiations with PTI ‘not on federal committee’s agenda’


A source in the Prime Minister Office on Sunday denied reports that a federal-level committee had been formed to negotiate with PTI, clarifying that its main purpose was to assess the prevailing political situation and do collective decision-making on matters pertaining to the former ruling party’s long march.

The same was also confirmed by senior PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid to The Express Tribune a day earlier.

However, one of the members of the 13-member committee only partially agreed with this assertion, saying that as of now there was no other committee formed to engage with PTI and till another committee was formed – if need be – this will be the panel for the purposes of any negotiation with PTI leaders.

Speaking to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, the source revealed that the media has wrongly presented this committee as having been formed to engage with the PTI leaders on the issue of the long march.

“The purpose of the committee is to assess the political situation in the country in view of the PTI’s political activity,” he clarified.

Furthermore, he continued, the committee will decide on what actions the coalition government should take to undo the damage done by PTI’s vitriolic attack on government and state institutions.

Then there was the major question of collective decision-making, he said, adding that all parties need to take decisions with consensus so no partner in the alliance feels left out.

He said this political activity of PTI was an “attack on the state” and it was in the best interest of the country that all political parties in government take a consensus decision.

Former information minister and senior PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday had expressed similar views, stating that there was a misperception regarding the committee formed on orders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif led by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.

Rashid had clarified that the committee was not formed to negotiate with PTI but was set up for internal coordination. “There were many parties in the government, all needed to be taken on board before any decision regarding the march was reached, all needed to be consulted with.”

He said every party in government is an equal stakeholder, and a consensus decision is what this government will move ahead with.

Meanwhile, Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira talking to The Express Tribune confirmed that the committee was indeed formed for collective decision making “but till the time another committee was formed, only this committee will be the one to talk to by PTI or vice versa”.

He said ideally to engage with PTI a smaller committee will be formed with a lesser number of leaders, which will operate behind the curtains.He said none of the sides in such situations usually agree to any negotiation if a certain degree of secrecy was not maintained. As of now, no such committee has been formed, he added.

On Saturday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif constituted a 13-member committee which was dubbed a ‘negotiation committee'.

The committee was led by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and included Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Hanif Abbasi, Maryam Aurangzeb and Dr Tariq Fazal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Qamar Zaman Kaira of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Aminul Haq of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Mian Iftikhar of the Awami National Party (ANP), Khalid Magsi of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Maulana Asad Mahmood of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Tariq Bashir Cheema of the PML-Quaid.

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