Election date issue: Govt, PTI hold talks at Parliament House 

Election date issue: Govt, PTI hold talks at Parliament House 

Islamabad (Web Desk): The ruling coalition and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday held a meeting at the Parliament House in Islamabad to discuss the issue regarding dates for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The government's delegations comprised senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Law Minister Azam Tarar, and Ayaz Sadiq and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders Yousaf Raza Gillani and Naveed Qamar as members of the committee holding the talks. The MQM-P's Kishwar Zehra is also a part of the government-nominated committee.

Meanwhile, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Barrister Ali Zafar and senior leader Fawad Chaudhary are representing the PTI.

As per reports, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has decided to skip the talks.

In the first round of talks, which lasted for around two hours at the Parliament House's Committee Room Number 3, both sides informed each other about their top leadership's stance.

The second meeting will be held on Friday.

The negotiations have taken place while a written order is awaited by the Supreme Court (SC) regarding elections in Punjab and KP, an issue on which there has been a weeks-long impasse between the ruling coalition, the opposition and the higher judiciary.

The development comes hours after Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani wrote separate letters to the leader of the house and the opposition to nominate members from both the treasury and opposition benches to constitute a special committee for holding political dialogue.

Sanjrani stated that the Senate of Pakistan, House of Federation, being a stabilising factor of the federation is constitutionally bestowed with the responsibility of protecting the national and political harmony vis-a-vis the national and public interest.

"By assuming this responsibility and taking note that the Parliament is the right and the only forum for the resolution of political issues, given the prevailing political and economic situation, a committee comprising of members of the Senate belonging to both sides of the aisle has been proposed to address the ongoing political and economic crisis, including the holding of general elections," he furthered.

Earlier today, a three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan resumed hearing the election delay suo motu case.

During the hearing, the top court raised questions over the government’s “seriousness” regarding holding negotiations.

In his remarks, the CJP said said that courts cannot force political parties to hold negotiations and urged the ruling alliance and the opposition to sit together for talks on elections for the sake of the Constitution.

He said that the court only wanted implementation of the Constitution so that a way could be found out of the current crisis.

“We don’t need any explanations, tell us a solution,” he said, highlighting that it would take Sanjarani’s committee time to initiate the talks.

Soon after hearing the arguments from both sides, the court completed the proceedings for the day.

"A written order will be issued for this case," the CJ said adding that "the court will issue appropriate orders".

The apex court had before Eid ul Fitr directed the political parties to hold a dialogue in a bid to reach a consensus on the date of elections in the country.

The hearing was then adjourned till today (April 27) after the key ruling parties, PPP and PML-N, assured the SC they would sit with PTI and try to find a solution on the election date.