ISLAMABAD: A joint committee of the government and the PML-N appears heading towards a dead end because of the party’s insistence that its reforms agenda must be implemented by the end of this month.
There has been little meeting of minds on the issues discussed so far, despite announcements about “satisfactory progress” made by the government after each sitting of the committee.
At the last two meetings, PML-N’s representatives expressed dissatisfaction over what they called the government’s ‘inaction’ on the agenda presented by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif last month for implementation before Feb 23.
After a party meeting on Monday, spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said the PML-N would have no option but to go to the public if the government failed to implement the agenda within the ‘timeframe’.
According to sources, most PML-N members wanted the party to launch a mass mobilisation campaign if the government did not give a positive response.
They said the committee had so far failed to agree on the ‘definition of the corrupt people’.
The PPP says that no one can be dubbed corrupt until he is convicted by a court.
On the other hand, the PML-N wants all those facing corruption charges to resign from their posts and seek clearance from courts.
Mr Sharif, the sources said, was unhappy over the way the committee was dealing with the issues and wanted it to meet on a daily basis.
Contrary to the party’s official position, the chief of the PML-N team, Senator Ishaq Dar, is hopeful that the talks will bear positive results.
When asked about the conflicting statements from the two sides, he said the “contradiction is natural as so far they have failed to deliver anything concrete”.
He said his team briefed the media after every meeting on its decisions. “We are making serious efforts, but there are certain grey areas.”
Senator Dar said that he and other members of the committee were not present at the party meeting held in Raiwind and, therefore, he was not aware of any decision about a mass mobilisation campaign.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the PML-N spokesman expressed regret that the government had not taken any concrete step towards implementing the reforms agenda over the past 20 days.
“If the government does not take immediate steps to reform the economy then a demand for a change will become inevitable,” Mr Iqbal said.
Law Minister Babar Awan had said at a joint news conference along with Mr Dar after the third round of talks last week that both parties had agreed on the names of members from both houses of parliament to finalise the procedure and criteria for the appointment of an independent chief election commissioner and members of the commission. He said the list had reached the speaker who would notify the constitution of the committee. The government has set up a judicial commission comprising Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan to investigate the unreasonable surge in sugar prices.
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