ISLAMABAD: A complete deadlock prevailed on Thursday, the 11th day of‘Azadi March’between the government and opposition parties. Another round of talks between government and the opposition on Wednesday failed to break the logjam with both sidessticking to their positions making the politicalsituation ofIslamabad edgier as JUI-F-led sit-in of opposition parties entered its sixth day. However, both sides agreed that they were ready to find a middle ground to end the deadlock.
The JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the government not to “bother with negotiations” if the prime minister’s resignation is off the table. “There is no need for negotiations then. No need to come to us. When you come, you must come with the intention of leaving the corridors of power behind.” Addressing the prime minister, Rehman said: “You are at a dead end now and now you must decide whether you want to continue to remain there or come out and give back the people their right.” Fazlur Rehman censures the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for employing “delaying tactics” in the foreign funding case pending with the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Why is your foreign funding case still pending in the ECP forthe past 5 years?Your own seniorleadership has gone to the commission and have said funding came from India, Europe and many other places. You submitted 60 petitions in the court to delay the case. Every petition by the government has been rejected. Why has the election commission not been able to decide the matter?” The JUI-F chief questioned why “when the entire party is a robber brigade” it is being allowed to continue. The government’s negotiation team headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and opposition’s Rehbar Committee under the convenorship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani met for second time in less than two days to find out a way to end the ‘Azadi March’sit-in in Islamabad. After the meeting, Khattak told reporters at a joint press conference that both the sidesstuck to their respective positions and added: “We are trying to find a middle ground and talks will continue till end of the deadlock.” Both sides had met on Monday forthe first time since the JUIF-led Azadi March had entered Islamabad on October 31 and camped on a main highway of the capital thus crippling life of citizens. Khattak, a senior leader of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that they wanted to find out the solution in a manner that on one side, opposition wouldn’t lose its dignity but on the other hand, the government’s self-respect should also be taken care of. Pak army The army on Wednesday indicated that it had no issues with not getting a role in holding of elections in the country in the future. Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, while taking part in a talk show on a private channel, said that Army Chief Gen Qamar JavedBajwa had already proposed to political leaders to devise a systemand create an environment that could end the military’s role in elections. In response to another question, the spokesman said that his comments alwaysreflected the army’s institutional position on issues and were never his own views. The army has provided security in most of the elections held in the country by guarding polling stations and providing security cover to the election staff and material during their movement. Elections held last year saw the largest deployment in the country’s electoral history as 371,388 troops were involved. The army’s growing role has drawn criticism from political parties,some of whomalleged that the army and intelligence agenciesinfluenced the electoral process last year.In view ofthese concerns, the opposition parties have included the demand for ending army’srole in elections in the four-point charter of demands for ending the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’sIslamabad sit-in.