BNP-M disputes PTI’s claim of continuing talks

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Khan Suri on Thursday said that the federal government has resumed talks with Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) to persuade the disgruntled ally into becoming part of the coalition government once again.
However, BNP-M Secretary-General Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldini has contradicted the claim, saying that there were no talks between the two parties.
National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri told media in Quetta that talks were underway with Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s party to address the concerns of the Baloch people, and hoped that the BNP-M would join the federal government once again. Suri said that the PTI government wanted BNP-M to re-join the coalition government.
Senator Jamaldini said that there were no talks. “There are no formal talks underway. However, I cannot rule out if the federal government had spoken to any of our lawmaker in a personal capacity,” he said. Asked to elaborate, Jamaldini said that lawmakers meet occasionally and there may be a possibility that any PTI lawmaker had spoken to the BNP lawmaker.
“But there is no dialogue at the leadership level. I am secretary-general of the party while Akhtar Mengal is the president. We are not contacted by the government for talks,” he added.
Asked whether there was a possibility of a breakthrough in any such dialogue between the federal government and the BNP-M, Jamaldini said that there was no chance.
“We believe that this government is comprised of non-serious people who have no say in decision-making. They have failed in resolving public issues. They cannot resolve [complex] issues of Balochistan,” he said and added that there was no use of any talks with the government of incapable people.
Despite repeated efforts, Suri could not be contacted for his rejoinder on Jamaldini’s statement. However, secretary-information of PTI Balochistan’s central region, Asif Tareen, confirmed to Pakistan Today that Qasim Khan Suri had spoken about the dialogue between the BNP-M and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
He said that Suri had actually said that the federal government’s delegation led by Asad Umar was carrying on talks with the BNP-M. “The dialogue continues but it had been stalled after the recent developments. Qasim Suri said that talks would continue again. He said that PTI wanted to bring the BNP back to the government’s fold and for this, the PTI would continue talks as Prime Minister Imran Khan believed in the policy of political engagements and dialogue,” he added.
It is worth mentioning that a few weeks ago, the BNP-M leader had announced to part ways with the federal government and the party’s lawmakers did not even attend the dinner hosted by the prime minister. Mengal had said that the BNP could not attend the dinner as it was no longer part of the government and an ally.

Later, the BNP chief joined the opposition alliance – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – and also addressed recent public gatherings in Peshawar and Multan.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today’s Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]