A meeting of coalition parties chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf took place in Islamabad on Thursday, preceding negotiations with Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Notably, while leaders from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)‚ Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)‚ Awami National Party (ANP)‚ Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) attended the meeting, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) of Mehmood Khan Achakzai did not participate despite an invitation.
Sources privy to the meeting told The Express Tribune that during the meeting, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat excused himself from heading the negotiation team, but upon the prime minister’s request he agreed to do so.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik was excluded from the committee on Shujaat’s suggestion, keeping in mind his comments against Qadri in the media. All the coalition partners also strongly ruled out an operation against the sit-in participants.
Earlier, the head of the Fata group, Munir Orakzai, boycotted the meeting to protest against the Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s misconduct with the protesting families from Bara.
The prime minister formed another committee comprising Senator Abbas Afridi and Afrasiab Khattak to get details of the incident and report back to him.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2013.