ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari held a one-on-one meeting in Gilgit, one day after responding differently to the Army’s inquiry report on the Karachi attack, in an attempt to mitigate misunderstandings between the two parties on the issue.
Subsequently, other senior members of the two parties joined their leaders in a meeting held at a hotel where several leaders of Pakistan’s major political parties stayed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in conjunction with the Nov 15 elections.
Sources said the meeting took place at Ms. Nawaz’s initiative after she received reports that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was dissatisfied with Nawaz Sharif’s tweet in which he rejected the Army’s investigation report on the incident in Karachi and called it a “cover-up scapegoating juniors and protecting the real culprits.”
On the other hand, Mr. Bhutto-Zardari praised the investigation report and called it a step towards improving the credibility of institutions Gilgit.
On Tuesday, after discovering that they had behaved “overzealously” in the suspected abduction of the Sindh police chief that had triggered “misunderstanding between two agencies,” the Pakistan Army announced the withdrawal of several officials of the prime Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan Rangers from their current assignments.
The one-on-one meeting takes place a day after PPP, PML-N gave numerous answers to the military’s ‘Karachi incident’ report
It took less than three weeks to conclude the investigation after Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa vowed to investigate the matter following protests from opposition parties and the mass appeal of police officers for long leave in protest against the suspected abduction of the Sindh inspector general.
The PPP sources said the PML-N members were told by the party about some “internal information” about the Karachi incident and the investigation report that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had no idea about, voicing the expectation that “the PML-N must be fulfilled now.”
Despite jointly running a campaign from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) platform in Pakistan against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf administration, the two parties have separately nominated candidates in GB.
After the conference, PPP Vice-President Sherry Rehman talked to Dawn over the phone and said the leaders of the two parties had “cordial talks” and emphasised the need for “strengthening the PDMM.”
Asked if the Karachi incident investigation report had been addressed by the two sides, Ms Rehman said the topic may have been discussed during the one-on-one conference, but not in the meeting that took place afterwards.
In the prevalent climate, Ms Rehman hoped that the meeting would help create faith and confidence between the two sides.
The leader of the PPP said both parties were worried about the role of federal ministers in the region and the lack of intervention by the GB Election Commission. She said the two parties had also addressed the tactic of foiling the Centre ‘s future efforts to control and exploit the coming elections Gilgit.
Ms Rehman said both sides had agreed to set up special teams to track the voting process and to point out on the polling day anomalies and rigging.
In answer to a query, as both parties were also contesting the elections against each other, she said that they would form separate teams to track the activities of the polling day. Subsequently, in a joint statement, the two parties cautioned against any effort to manipulate the GB elections. The two parties pledged to follow the PDM agenda, claiming that once they sent the PTI government packing, they would continue their fight.