Wednesday, December 28, 2022
A purported audio call between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s close aide Zulfiqar Ahmed came to the fore Wednesday, wherein the two were allegedly discussing a message hinting at the possibility of talks between the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Responding to Fawad, Ahmed said that he hasn’t read the “lengthy message” and what should he do with it.
“Send it to Suleman and tell him that politicians should talk to one another and form a framework,” he allegedly said, asking Ahmed to forward the “message” to Suleman Shehbaz, son of Premier Shehbaz, about the formation of a framework following talks between politicians.
Talking against “relying on soldiers” for negotiations, Fawad said: “We are always watching the soldiers and keep thinking what they will do.”
“Ask them [PML-N] what concessions they want from the PTI,” Imran Khan-led party’s leader said, according to the purported audio call, insisting that political parties should pursue dialogue with one another rather than looking towards the “soldiers” for intervention.
Later in the alleged call, the PTI leader is heard telling PM Shehbaz’s friend to even send the message to the prime minister. Fawad purportedly said that he will share a shorter message with Ahmed to be sent to the premier.
The prime minister's aide, in the alleged call, told Fawad that he thinks his party's leader will be disqualified, responding to which the PTI leader said: "Even if they do, it'll be [a matter of] ranting. What's the point?"
Following its several, not-so-successful attempts to pressurise the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) ruling coalition in the Centre for early elections, the PTI is now steering towards the possibility of talks with the PML-N.
Before Fawad's alleged audio surfaced, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke about the party's willingness to play a role in parliament but claimed the government is not ready to make a serious commitment in this regard.
Issuing a statement, Qureshi said that the PTI is ready to play a parliamentary role, but the government is not announcing a date for general elections.
Thumbnail image: Fawad Chaudhry speaks outside the Election Commission of Pakistan's office in Islamabad. — Online/File