Another offer of dialogue


LAW Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar Thursday said the coalition government was ready to hold a grand political dialogue if the PTI Chairman Imran Khan showed his willingness to bring the political temperature down. Addressing a news conference, he said Imran Khan should not pave the way for the third option and send two people from his side, while two people from the coalition government will sit together to discuss things. He also lamented that during the four-year tenure of the PTI, they did not try to mend fences with the opposition.

The latest offer of dialogue has come at a time when political temperature was rising further in the country due to actions and reactions by the opposing side and as a result the political uncertainty is deepening with catastrophic impact on the overall national economy. There is, therefore, an urgent need for a substantive dialogue on all ticklish and controversial issues and their solution can be found provided it is held with due sincerity and in the spirit of give and take, which is the essence of politics. However, at the moment, there are bleak chances for any dialogue as the mistrust has deteriorated to such an extent that PTI is now approaching the world community and the UN inviting them to take notice of alleged human rights violations against its workers and leaders. This tendency is unfortunate as the then opposition never indulged in any attempt that could portray the country in a negative light despite the fact that hundreds of their workers and leaders were rounded up and scores of them were put behind bars on the pretext of accountability in cases that could not be proved against them. PTI workers have been lifted on charges of attacks on the law enforcing agencies during police operation at Zaman Park Lahore and on the occasion of Imran Khan before the District and Sessions Judge. Footages by national media showed to the world what transpired and instead of politicizing the issue, the involved workers and leaders should recourse to legal remedies. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Thursday announced the constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate vandalism and attacks by the PTI activists on law enforcement personnel at the Islamabad Judicial Complex during the appearance of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and a similar JIT has also been formed by the Punjab Government to investigate attacks against police in Lahore. It is because of free for all violence against the law-enforcing agencies that the Inspector-General of Police (Punjab) had to issue a stern warning. Rejecting allegations levelled against the police force, he said “Punjab Police are the protectors, we are not going to kill anyone, but the police will repulse every attack by such terrorists and anti-social elements and those who harm the security of the country. If fire was opened on police, then we will also answer a bullet with a bullet in our defence.” The remarks of the Interior Minister and IGP Police only point to heightened political temperature as they come in the wake of a communication that the PTI sent to the United Nations informing it about the “custodial torture” of party workers allegedly by the “state of Pakistan”. Imran Khan has also been repeatedly levelling allegations of a conspiracy to kill him, which prompted the Chief Minister Punjab to form a judicial commission to investigate the allegations. There are also serious differences and points of view on the timing of elections in Punjab and KP in the backdrop of the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to delay them to October 08, which has vehemently been opposed by PTI but welcomed by the coalition Government. It is also interesting to note that Zalmay Khalilzad has issued a series of statements on the internal political situation in Pakistan and the speed with which IMF has contradicted claims of linking the delay in elections to conditions imposed upon Pakistan by the Fund speak volumes as their deep interest in the internal politics of Pakistan is not without a reason. We have been emphasizing in these columns that the country is headed in the wrong direction due to infighting of politicians and something unexpected could happen if they persisted with their short-sighted approach as well as self-centred politics. The rising political tension and attempts aimed at creating a law and order situation have already contributed to the decision to postpone elections in Punjab and political analysts believe the general election could also be delayed if the existing trend and behaviour continued.