PTI making every effort to woo BNP-Mengal | Pakistan Today

PTI making every effort to woo BNP-Mengal

–BNP wants bill on enforced disappearance, repatriation of Afghan refugee

–Mengal demands law ensuring industrialisation won’t affect Gwadar’s demography

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has stepped up efforts to woo the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) which recently hinted at joining the opposition after the government failed to make true on its words regarding its demands.

A PTI delegation called on BNP on Friday to hold talks over the six-point charter of demands – crucial in keeping the alliance intact – after Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted a three-member committee to oversee the implementation of the six-point agreement reached with the BNP at the time of the formation of the federal government.

However, the same day, a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) delegation also called on BNP to win over its chief. A post-meeting conference hinted that Mengal may join the opposition if it agreed to his six-point demands.

BNP is crucial for PTI in getting the finance bill passed.

Pakistan Today approached the party leaders from both sides who participated in the meeting to get a closer picture of the negotiations.

The members of the committee, headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, met BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal at the Parliament House and discussed with the latter coalition-related matters. BNP secretary general Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini and Agha Hassan Baloch represented the party.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and BNP have informed Pakistan Today that the talks were held in a cordial manner and both sides agreed to get the six-point charter implemented.

The sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has empowered the committee to hold talks with the BNP-M leaders and asked them to devise short- and long-term strategies for the implementation of the agreement.

A source in PTI said that BNP wanted immediate decisions on passage of a bill to ensure human rights provisions to detainees held in Balochistan as well as a resolution to the issue of enforced disappearances. The BNP also demanded new law to ensure that industrialisation of Gwadar would not affect the demography of the port city.

“BNP wants laws to ensure that no demographic change would take place in the wake of development projects in Gwadar. They also want assurance that people moving to Gwadar in wake of industrialisation would not be granted right to vote and only locals would have this right,” the source added.

The source said that the BNP also wants six per cent job quota to be implemented in Gwadar and Balochistan too.

The second round of dialogue would be held again on Monday or Tuesday once the BNP chief returns from Balochistan, the source added.

When contacted, BNP Secretary General Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini said the BNP asked the delegation to implement the six-point charter agreed upon between the two parties.

“We have asked them to inform us why our demands have not been implemented as of yet, or what is the progress if there has been any. We are also open to knowing what hurdles the government faced in getting these points implemented,” he said.

Asked what demands the BNP believed were difficult to get implemented, the BNP leader said that the government should honour its commitment to the demands agreed upon earlier.

“In my view, the issue of (legislation for) enforced disappearances and repatriation of Afghan refugees could be major issues for Imran-led government,” he said.

Asked whether the government had informed the BNP that Pakistan had to comply with international commitments made under the United Nations charter on the repatriation of Afghan refugees, Senator Jamaldini said that his party was open if the government shares the international compulsions over the issue.

He said that his party wanted the bill passed by Standing Committee to ensure human rights compliance must be passed but the law ministry had been holding back that bill.

“Frankly, BNP doesn’t want to destabilise the federal government. But prime minister needs to implement commitments made to us,” he added.

“Let’s see what the government response is shared with us on Monday. Only then we can make up our mind on future political strategy,” he concluded.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]



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