Pakistan government holds talks with Imran Khan, Qadri teams

Islamabad: After talking to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) party of Tahir-ul-Qadri, the Pakistan government has begun a dialogue with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party of Imran Khan, Geo News reported late Wednesday.

The dialogue between the PTI and the government side began at a private hotel in Islamabad in which the government is being represented by Federal Information Minister Pewaiz Rashid, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Ahsan Iqbal, Zahid Hamid, and Abdul Qadir Baloch.

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The PTI negotiators include Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Arif Alvi Javed Hashmi and Jehangir Tareen.

Imran Khan’s six demands comprise — Nawaz Sharif should quit as prime minister, mid-term elections be held, electoral reforms be made, forming impartial interim government through political consensus, resignation of the Election Commission of Pakistan, and Article 6 of the constitution be invoked against those involved in the “rigging” of May 2013 elections and awarded punishments.

Earlier, Pakistan government Wednesday held talks with cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, the PAT chief and an opposition leader, who is leading thousands of supporters in a sit-in in Islamabad and seeks Sharif’s resignation, Xinhua reported.

Qadri, who launched anti-government protest Aug 14, had earlier refused to hold talks with the government like Imran Khan.

The cleric contends that he can bring out a revolution as the present system has failed to deliver.

He agreed to hold talks after the Sharif-led government formed a committee comprising two ministers and some political leaders to defuse the political tension.

The two sides held two rounds of dialogue, the step described as an important move to “melt the ice” at a time when the protest has disrupted life in Islamabad.

The government negotiation team was satisfied with the opening of the dialogue, however, the Qadri team reiterated his demand for Sharif’s resignation.