Election date issue: Govt, PTI hold second round of talks

Election date issue: Govt, PTI hold second round of talks

Islamabad (Web Desk): The second round of talks between the delegations of the ruling coalition and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) began on Friday at the Parliament House in Islamabad to discuss the issue regarding dates for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The PTI delegation includes Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Barrister Ali Zafar.

The members representing government include 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.

Earlier today, PTI chief Imran Khan, during an informal conversation with journalists at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), said that he had requested Fawad and Qureshi to initiate talks with the government only if the ruling party was prepared to immediately dissolve the assemblies and hold elections.

“There’s no need to proceed if they insist on holding polls in September or October,” the former premier added with both leaders present during the conversation.

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

As per the reports, the PTI had put forth three key demands during first round of the negotiations, the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA) and Sindh and Balochistan legislatures in May to pave way for general elections in July, the passage of a constitutional amendment for a one-time concession to delay polls beyond 90 days if the government wanted to go beyond the May 14 election date in Punjab, and, the withdrawal of the speaker’s order accepting the resignations of PTI MNAs to bring them back to the NA.

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.