Government Cites Security Concerns And Paucity Of Funds In Third Round Of Talks  

Government Cites Security Concerns And Paucity Of Funds In Third Round Of Talks  

Though the PTI has decided to continue dialogue even after a raid at the residence of party president Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, the government has decided to present 'security concerns' as an argument behind the delay in conducting polls.

Both sides would prefer not to prolong talks for several rounds. Normally, dialog between the government and the opposition takes time to evolve into consensus, but these talks could very well end without any consensus reached, as indicated in background discussions with the PTI and the government.

The PTI will raise the matter of a raid at the residence of the party president and former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in the third round of talks. Whereas, the government has planned to present 'security concerns,' especially in KP and Southern Punjab, and a paucity of funds as the reasons for the delay in the conduct of polls. The figures shared with the top electoral body, the ECP, by the security agencies and finance ministry will also be shared with the PTI, government sources said.

The ECP has also submitted a report to the Supreme Court, saying it has not yet received any funds against the Rs 21 billion required to conduct polls for the assemblies in Punjab and KPK. The Commission, on April 18, took the plea before the court that it would not be feasible to conduct polls due to unavailability of proper security for voters and an inability to meet expenses.

Sources said that the PTI has decided to continue dialog with the government following the order of the apex court, but they would prefer that the talks should be finalized in the next two rounds of talks. The PTI has yet not finalized its plan to make efforts for restoring dissolved assemblies in both provinces.

Since two rounds of the talks between the government and PTI have ended without any breakthrough, the statement of PML-N heavyweight Khawaja Muhammad Asif is also relevant as he termed ‘the negotiations a waste of time.’

The members of the government and PTI had tabled their proposals in the second round of talks. The dialogue is set to resume on May 2.

The opposition delegation consisted of PTI vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Ali Zafar. From the government's side, PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Azam Nazeer Tarar and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq along with PPP’s Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani and Syed Naveed Qamar are part of the talks.