Mar 18, 2009

PPP, PML-N to hold dialogue on CoD soon

Reconciliatory talks between the PPP led government and the beleaguered PML-N leadership is to start soon to chalk out a mechanism for the implementation of the Charter of Democracy (CoD) in order to suggest legislation on structural changes for appointments of judiciary, Election Commission, and defence services etc. highly placed sources told Dawn on Tuesday. The sources claimed that the PML-N has consented to enter into dialogue only if these were held with a team led by Prime Minister Gilani and declined to come face to face with president Zardari who in their opinion has lost their trust. The proposed talks are to be held in accordance with the political patch up that was reached between the two parties influenced by army Chief and some external players which resulted in restoration of the deposed judges and consequentially the country-wide campaign came to a halt. PML-N president and former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already invited the Prime Minister Gilani for lunch when the latter visits Lahore in the next couple of days, sources said. Major thrust of the preliminary talks, the sources said, would be on a smooth restoration of deposed judges by maintaining their seniority as well as to address any legal lacunae which are missing in the covert deal as a result of which the PML-N called off the huge long march on Islamabad. The sources close to the leaders who have met PM Gilani during last couple of days have claimed that the ice has melted due to the intermediary efforts of external players like the United States and UK. A senior government functionary, who met the prime minister on Monday, suggested that Gilani, who is to spearhead any future government team in the proposed dialogue process, was very much optimistic about an early start of the process. Interestingly, the PPP’s other two coalition partners JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman and ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan, who claimed to have played some role in bringing both the warring parties closer on the issue of judiciary are not expected to become part of the negotiation team. The second round of talks would be focused on achieving consensus on the proposed constitutional amendment package in light of the CoD. Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Jamali who has held a meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday told Dawn that he found PM Gilani upbeat about his overtures with the Sharif brothers and was confident that things would start returning to normal as soon as both the parties engage themselves in intensive talks on the implementation of CoD.

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