Pakistan: Negotiations underway to end political deadlock – President Alvi


LAHORE: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that although his constitutional role does not allow him to mediate between political parties particularly on the matter of army chief’s appointment, he is trying to reduce tensions to save democracy.

“I am trying to reduce tensions and bring all political parties to negotiating table to save democracy from derailing and improve situation,” the president said while interacting with a group of journalists at Governor House in Lahore on Saturday.

President Alvi, who belongs to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said that he was playing his role as supreme commander of the armed forces to bring down the political temperature in the country.

“I don’t take instructions from Imran Khan. I am on friendly terms with him. We share same opinion but I don’t seek his counsel,” the president added.

President Alvi said negotiations are underway to reduce the friction and improve situation but matters “are being kept under wraps to so that things progress amicably”.

“I am playing a role of mediator as supreme commander of the armed forces but I am not a broker.”

Speaking about security measures being taken in the federal capital ahead of PTI’s long march to Islamabad, the president said, “Containers were used for trade across the world but in Pakistan they have been given a new use”.

President Alvi said all political parties have demanded early elections at some point in time and added that even Supreme Court had discussed the possibility of early polls to end the political deadlock.

Responding to a question about establishment’s role in politics, the president said he cannot rewrite history but can only try to make things better.

President Alvi’s remarks came the same day his party chief criticised Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other party leaders for holding a meeting in London to decide the Pakistan Army’s next chief as he addressed participants of the party’s Haqeeqi Azadi March in Lala Musa.

“The important decisions of the country are taken abroad and by those who have looted Pakistan for the last 30 years,” Imran Khan said in reference to Shehbaz purportedly discussing the key appointment and other issues of national importance with his elder brother Nawaz Sharif during his unscheduled London visit.

The PTI chairman also reiterated that the army chief should be appointed on merit and dismissed allegations that he was making the important appointment controversial. “I never made it controversial”.

The PTI long march resumed on Thursday, a week after the assassination attempt on Imran Khan that had earlier brought the march to a halt. The march was split in two processions.

The first continued from Wazirabad, the site of the attack on Imran, and was led by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The second rally departed from Toba Tek Singh a day later, led by Asad