ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi expressing strong concern over the state of the national economy has stressed that the political parties need to hold talks by rising above their differences. In an exclusive interview with BBC, the president termed it crucial to ‘lower the political heat’ to avoid further deterioration of the economic situation in the country.
President Alvi urged negotiations among “all stakeholders”, including the ruling coalition government and PTI. He said differences were part of democracy, however, it was crucial for all to make united efforts to save the country from economic collapse. “I am not insisting about [holding talks with] PTI chief Imran, but at least the political parties should hold discussions, and after that, the leaders can also meet,” he said.
He mentioned that in an earlier consultation, Imran Khan had expressed satisfaction over the nomination of General Asim Munir as army chief. He, however, said that he was not ‘brokering any dialogue’ between Imran Khan and the current army leadership. Calling 2023 an election year, the president said the political parties should also negotiate about it whether to hold the polls sooner or later, plus or minus a few months.
The president said that he had been personally making efforts to reduce tension among stakeholders and termed social media “a major reason” behind the differences between Imran Khan and former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He said undue importance paid to social media resulted in misunderstandings and pointed out that “decision-making elements” in the country failed to effectively handle social media. “I have been trying to bring people together to help them end their mistrust, and I will continue to do so. It is my constitutional responsibility to keep the federation united,” he said.