Govt wants PTI to provide evidence of poll rigging instead of opening of ballot boxes, drags feet on PTI’s demand for making JC’s decision final
The government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) negotiating teams will meet today (Saturday) after failing to reach a consensus on the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the proposed judicial commission to investigate alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections, during a meeting held on Friday.
The third session of talks between the government and PTI negotiating teams was held Friday after PTI rejected the government’s draft for the judicial commission ordinance handed over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during the All Parties Conference (APC) on December 24.
According to PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen, the ordinance was rejected for “not being in line with what had already been agreed upon between the two sides”.
Sources privy to the meeting on Friday told Pakistan Today that the meeting failed to make headway due to the “rigid stance” of the government’s panel.
“The dialogue started in a tense environment. There was no change in the document shared earlier by the government’s negotiators which angered the PTI team,” said the source.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Dar that there was no use of talks if the government was not ready to show flexibility, said the source.
BONES OF CONTENTION:
The source said that three points were proving to be the stumbling blocks in the dialogue.
According to the source, the government wants PTI to provide evidence of rigging in the 2013 elections “under a large scale nationwide conspiracy” as alleged by PTI Chairman Imran Khan. However, PTI wants the commission to go for a complete vote audit so it could be probed whether or not the elections were “systematically rigged on a massive scale”, the source said.
“The government says that PTI should take responsibility to provide rigging evidence and the commission should not open ballot boxes. PTI wants that the judicial commission be empowered to open any constituency at will,” said the source.
The sources added that PTI wants that the decision of the judicial probe should be final and irrevocable – a demand the government negotiators are dragging their feet on.
“PTI will not accept a toothless judicial commission at any cost,” said the source quoting a PTI leader involved in the talks.
“When there was no headway and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) team sought time to seek guidance from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Tareen got furious and said there would be no more talks with a powerless negotiating panel,” the source said.
“PTI wanted to make a final decision on the dialogue today before the PTI chief leaves for London to see his children,” said the source.
The source added that even after the media briefing by the negotiating teams’ members, Dar and his team kept trying to convince the PTI team to show flexibility.