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Imran 'agrees' to sit with rival parties

Published : Thursday, 23 March, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 271

LAHORE, Mar 22: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has agreed to sit with rival political parties for the sake of "greater national consensus" on elections after a delegation of civil society members called on the former premier in a bid to defuse political tensions.

The delegation that described itself as "mediators" managed to convince Imran Khan to participate in a proposed multi-party moot and said that other parties were also valid stakeholders in the political and electoral process.

Later, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also confirmed this development. "The civil society has spoken to Imran Khan and he has agreed to be part of the multi-party conference (MPC) to develop a consensus on the elections date and the process that leads to polls," he added.

"It was an intense debate with Imran Khan, who was first relentless in his well-known denunciatory tone for all stakeholders. He even demanded some confidence-building measures before agreeing to the MPC proposal," explained one of the participants, who did not wish to be named as the process was still in the budding stage.

However, the civil society representatives were able to press upon him in the next more than an hour of arguments that he was not the only stakeholder in the electoral process. In response to confidence-building measures, the representatives reminded the PTI chief that the civil society was only an "initiator and facilitator of political dialogue" and there was a need for the political parties to thrash out such issues.

During the meeting, it was pointed out that if political players were not ready to talk to each other and the military was "not ready to intervene in the political process", then there was no way that things would move forward toward reconciliation. "Fortunately, Mr Khan agreed - for now at least," the participant added. �DAWN

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