TRUE to his commitment to the cause of reconciliation and national unity, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday extended an olive branch to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, urging him to set aside his acrimony, for now, and work together for providing relief to fellow countrymen affected by unrelenting rains and floods.
Speaking to the international media in Islamabad, the Premier said he wished to ask Mr Khan to sit with him and move forward on relief efforts and steer the country out of the crisis.
One must compliment the Prime Minister for his consistency in offering dialogue to the opposition for the sake of the country as this reflects clarity of thoughts on his part on the issue of enlisting support of all stakeholders to help resolve the daunting challenges facing Pakistan.
There is no doubt that the threat of default is no more imminent but problems of the economy remain there and its recovery becomes a difficult task due to the situation arising out of devastating floods across the country.
As has been anticipated by the national leadership, it would require years to rehabilitate the affected people and rebuild the damaged infrastructure and, therefore, united and coordinated efforts would be needed on the part of the federal and provincial governments for the purpose.
The Prime Minister has demonstrated his sincerity of purpose by repeatedly offering talks and striking a consensus on the ‘Charter of Economy’ but it is regrettable that his offers are not receiving a positive response from the other side.
The non-serious attitude of the opposition can be judged from the statement of KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Tuesday, who ruled out the possibility of coordination with the federal government for the rehabilitation of the flood affected people.
He alleged that the PMLN-led government was illegitimate and the KP government would not keep any contact with it, an approach that would surely hamper smooth relief and reconstruction activities.
The Prime Minister was also very clear on the issue of import of vegetables from India pointing out that the two countries first need to discuss the human rights situation in Occupied Kashmir, a stand that represents feelings of Kashmiris and people of Pakistan.