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'Upset' Nawaz catches at 'friends' to save regime

06 August, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought help from parliamentary leaders to cool down the present political temperature.

Nawaz, on Tuesday, told allies and opposition leaders he was ready to hold meaningful and result-oriented dialogue with PTI leader Imran Khan, and was also open to any mediation through the political leadership represented in parliament, it has been reliably learnt.

The political leaders were told that the government had asked PTI leader through back channel contacts that he should postpone his long march for two months, or till culmination of the North Waziristan operation.

The meeting was told that the PTI leader has been conveyed the gravity of the situation, and security threats his workers, leaders might face during the long march at the hands of terrorists, a scary scenario that has all the potential to get out of control in case any untoward incident happened.

The back-channel negotiators, the meeting was told, even cautioned the PTI that even if it succeeded in accomplishing its goals through undemocratic means, there was no guarantee that it would be able to benefit from it. In case of anarchy, only undemocratic forces would benefit, the participants were informed.

"The premier was open to any meaningful role opposition PPP hierarchy or ally Mahmood Khan Achakzai can play in bringing the PTI to a negotiated settlement, and convince him to postpone the announced long march. President Zardari himself playing any such role at the highest political level is also not being ruled out, and being actively considered," said a participant of the meeting on anonymity.

Allies and opposition party leader, it was learnt, expressed their resolve not to let anyone derail the current democratic dispensation, but asked the ruling party at the same time to adopt a soft and reconciliatory approach and not to let the hawkish elements in their rank and file to ruin chances of any rapprochement.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman; opposition leader in NA Khursheed Shah; Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai; federal ministers including Senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed attended the meeting at the PM House.

Sources in the PM Secretariat said that addressing the participants PM Nawaz Sharif said August 14 must be celebrated in a manner that a message of unity reaches across the country and abroad. Sources added that Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed gave a detailed presentation to the participants about the backdoor channel contacts with PTI chief.

End.

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