Pakistan’s former premier and chairman of political party PTI, Imran Khan seems to be softening his rigid stance of having no talks with his opposition party leaders and the current ruling coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on issues related to the interests of the country and its inconsistent democracy.
Imran Khan, in a latest statement has said that he was ready to talk to anyone for the sake of the country.
“I will not escape from rendering any sacrifice for the progress of Pakistan, its interests and democracy. I am ready to talk to anyone and am ready to move forward for the same,” said Imran Khan.
Imran Khan’s agreement to hold talks and negotiations comes a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave out an open offer for talks for the sake of the country’s interest at large.
The reciprocation to offer for talks by Imran Khan has opened up hopes of engagements between the two arch-political rivals. Both sides seem to be opting for a reconciliatory tone after several months of political confrontation and the most recent chaotic scenes of unrest, protests and violent battles between the PTI supporters and the security forces outside the residence of Imran Khan in Lahore.
While the two sides showcase their willingness to talk, it is unlikely that Imran Khan would sit across the table with Shehbaz Sharif or his political opponents. PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the offer for talks by Imran Khan, would be carried forward by the leadership of the party, who he said was available to sit across the table with anyone.
“If the government was serious in the talks, especially about simultaneously holding elections across the country, then it should formally make the dialogue offer instead of merely giving statements after statements,” said Fawad Chaudhry.
Accusing the government for deliberately refraining from creating a conducive atmosphere for the talks, Chaudhry said that PTI even involved President Dr. Arif Alvi to mediate between the two sides, which he said did not yield any results.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking at the special ceremony of the Senate of Pakistan, said that Imran Khan, during his tenure, did not even shake hands with his opposition leaders.
“During Imran Khan’s tenure, I had offered to have detailed talks and sign a charter of economy. But Imran Khan did even want to listen to his opponents in Parliament. He did not even want to shake hands with his opponents,” he said.
“I call on all political leadership to come together and get the country out of the challenges”, insisting that differences would have to be put aside for economic reforms, austerity and other key issues.
Experts say that both sides have softened their stance against each other. And now, it should be either the judiciary or the establishment, who should bring both parties to table talks to find a mutual ground of understanding for political relevance and co-existence of political forces.