Sharif says governing Pakistan not easy, stalemate continues

Sharif says governing Pakistan not easy, stalemate continues
Bogged down by over three weeks of political turmoil, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said it ‘is not easy’ to rule Pakistan and sought the support of all parties in Parliament as several rounds of talks between the government and protesters failed to break the logjam.

‘I hope the opposition will continue on its path of supporting the government,’ Sharif said on the fourth day of the emergency joint session of the Parliament convened to support the Premier and discuss the crisis that has led to the cancellation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s maiden visit to Pakistan.

‘It was the opposition which urged me not to resign...I do not care for power...being the prime minister of Pakistan, governing Pakistan is not easy,’ Sharif said calling for ‘unity’ among parliamentary parties amid protests.

Sharif’s remarks came after overnight parleys between the government and the protesting groups -- the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) -- failed to break any ice on the issue of the Premier’s resignation.

A key member of the PTI negotiating team dispelled an impression that the party was about to seal a deal with the government and end the political stalemate. ‘The two sides have only agreed broadly to our proposal of electoral reforms and establishing a judicial commission. There is no further progress on the rest of our demands,’ PTI leader Arif Alvi told Dawn News.

The government negotiating team also met the PTI team on Friday but there were no indications of a settlement from either side.

As the deadlock continued, Sharif said ‘I assure you that if it was the PPP government instead of PML-N’s and we were in the opposition, we would have stuck by the PPP.’

‘There should be no compromise over that unity...over the supremacy of Constitution, democracy and rule of law...all parties should set that example,’ he said.

Sharif also tried his best to woo back the opposition after a verbal spat between Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and opposition leader Aitzaz Ahsan. Nisar accused Pakistan People’s Party leader Ahsan of being the spokesman for the largest land mafia group in Pakistan.

Sharif apologised to Aitzaz and Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah, saying it is important for all parties to keep their differences aside. Meanwhile, Khan, addressing his supporters, reiterated that he will not leave Islamabad till Sharif resigns. ‘It is not our fault if the Chinese president has postponed his trip,’ the PTI chief said, refuting allegations that the Chinese President’s security team did not give him clearance owing to Khan’s protests.



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