Govt, PTI agree on simultaneous polls under caretaker setup

ISLAMABAD, May 03 (APP): The delegation of the coalition government led by the Leader of the House in the Senate and Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday agreed on holding simultaneous polls under caretaker governments across the country but failed to reach out a consensus on mutually agrees date for the general elections.

Talking to the media after the third round of the talks, the Finance Minister flanked by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Yusuf Raza Gillani, Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar, Law Minister Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar and Minister for Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema termed the consensus on two points as a great positive achievement.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that first, there was consensus between both parties on holding simultaneous elections across the country to be held under caretaker governments and there was no confusion among anyone in this regard.

He added that there were many things in the backdrop that played a key role including the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the concept of caretaker governments and simultaneous polls for free, fair and transparent elections without any controversy.

He argued that if elections were held in two provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab then there would have been three representative governments of Sindh, Balochistan and federal in power and vice versa like then these two governments would have been in power during the elections of the latter that would have killed the concept of a free and fair election.

The Finance Minister said the agreement was achieved as per the Election Act 2017 and the Constitution as it demanded caretaker governments across the country before conducting general elections.

Dar said the third point was of the date for the general elections to be held on a single day across the country which both the sides did not agree with due to different opinions.

He underlined that there was flexibility on this point but no consensus was reached.

“The PTI leaders will have to discuss this development with it’s party leadership and we will have to take into confidence the leaderships of its 12-party coalition,” he added.

The minister underlined that keeping into consideration the general elections, the government and the opposition would have to note many things like the country needed budget, trade policy, and ongoing IMF review before fixing date for the general elections.

Dar reiterated that the government had shown greater flexibility and the other side had also demonstrated fluctuation which was a positive sign.

He added that the third point left would also be achieved if both the sides proceeded with the same positive spirit.

Senator Yusuf Raza Gillani remarked that the recent development made by both the sides was very positive.

He added that during the talks he had proposed to ensure acceptability of the elections’ results from all the political parties. “Whosoever wins everyone will have to accepts the outcome. It should not be that after the general elections there is chaos in the country.”

Gillani also prayed for the health of the ailing health of PTI Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s wife for her recovery.

Later, in a separate press conference outside the Parliament House, Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the media that the coalition government delegation had proposed to dissolve the National Assembly and remaining provincial assemblies on completion of their Parliamentary term.

He added that the PTI delegation tried to reach closer to each other and suggested to dissolve the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and the National Assembly on or before May 14th and elections should be held after it’s 60 days under caretaker governments.

He further mentioned that as it transcended the constitutional limit of 90 days and it was necessary to give a legal cover to this time period then the PTI could return to the National Assembly for a one-time amendment in the law.

He clarified that the PTI wanted an agreement with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in writing so that it could submit the agreement in the Supreme Court and get the top court’s endorsement and assurance for it’s implementation.

Qureshi mentioned that the general elections should be in such a transparent manner and environment that no one had any problem in accepting it’s outcomes.

He highlighted that the PTI showed great flexibility in the talks for national consensus. He added that for that cause we had accepted the one-time amendment recommendation, caretaker setup and 54-day caveat under Election Act 2017.

“The PDM and we (PTI) did not agree on the dissolution of assemblies and the date for general elections. We reached closer but could not agree,” he said.

The PTI delegation comprised of Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Senator Barrister Ali Zafar.

The PTI, he said had decided to present it’s point of view before the Supreme Court in writing.

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