Towards reconciliation

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At long last, serious efforts seem to be underway for bridging the differences between the ruling coalition and the opposition PTI that augur well for much-needed national reconciliation.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had a third meeting with President Dr.Arif Alvi on Wednesday when they discussed, among other things, matters relating to general elections and dissolution of the provincial assemblies as threatened by PTI.

In a welcome development, veteran politician Ch.Shujaat Hussain has offered playing the role of a mediator between the government and the opposition for the sake of the country.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan deserves credit for not implementing his warning of dissolution of the Punjab and KP assemblies in haste, allowing reasonable time for contacts between the two sides to produce any result.

Nothing concrete has yet materialized but remarks of both the President and the Finance Minister after their crucial meeting are positive in nature and spark confidence for the ultimate success of the reconciliation efforts.

Ishaq Dar has the onerous responsibility of managing financial and economic affairs of the country and his quest for peace and stability is understandable as policies and programmes aimed at addressing economic woes are dependent upon a peaceful environment in the country.

It was in this backdrop that Dar asked for the opposition’s support on the implementation of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) agreement.

He also discussed saving 4,000 MW power by shutting down countrywide markets early in the evening and sought political support for it, a plan that cannot be enforced without taking provincial governments on board including those of PTI in Punjab and KP.

As for Ch.Shujaat Hussain, it is encouraging that despite his failing health, he has once again demonstrated his firm commitment to the cause of the country by offering his services as a mediator.

In a statement, he said damage to the economy can be avoided if politicians remain in contact, declaring he would talk to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself in this regard if agreed to by Imran Khan.

It would be in the fitness of things if the President, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani and Ch.Shujaat Hussain harmonized their efforts and worked together to bring down the political tension in the country.

Sincere efforts can lead to desired results, especially when there seems to be no consensus in the ranks of coalition partners in Punjab on instant dissolution of the assembly as is also highlighted by expansion of the provincial cabinet on Wednesday.