ISLAMABAD, Aug 23, 2014 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) —
The dialogue between the Pakistani government and an opposition party aimed at defusing political tension Saturday faced a deadlock over demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an opposition leader said.
A government’s negotiation team held third round of talks with representatives of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party (PTI) in Islamabad to discuss its demands.
PTI is led by Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned politician, who is demanding resignation of Prime Minister as he claims he was elected through “rigged elections” last year. The charge was denied by the election authorities.
Senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that his party has suggested the ruling PML-N party to replace Nawaz Sharif with another leader for 30 days unless investigation into the alleged polls rigging is completed.
Federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, who was among the members of the gov’t team, said the PTI’s demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister is not acceptable as it is universal law that one is innocent unless proven guilty.
“How the Prime Minister can resign when he has been elected by an overwhelming majority of the National Assembly and only recently all political parties adopted a unanimously resolution urging him not to resign under pressure,” Iqbal asked at a news conference.
He said the Senate of Pakistan where PML(N) is in minority also passed a resolution opposing resignation of the Prime Minister and dissolution of the assemblies.
Iqbal said the insistence on resignation of the Prime Minister smacks of “minus one” conspiracy and PML(N) cannot accept this formula.
“Demand for resignation of the Prime Minister when his entire cabinet and the Government would remain intact is not understandable,” the minister said.
Earlier the Government and PTI negotiating teams held third round of talks in Islamabad and the government side reported progress except one sticking point relating to resignation of the Prime Minister.
Qureshi told newsmen that PTI team accepted the proposal for constitution of the judicial commission to probe allegations of rigging. He said they gave proposals encompassing terms of reference of the Commission to ensure transparency of its inquiry.
He said PTI did not demand dissolution of the Assemblies, formation of National Government and is also opposed to military intervention.
A religious leader, Dr Tahir ul Qadri, is also leading a protest sit-in in Islamabad against the government and wants to bring out a “revolution.”
He had also suspended talks with the government this week and has not yet decided to end the deadlock. His supporters have continued protest.