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Working Relationships between Governments are Critical in a Federation

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In Islamabad, Pakistan, the newly elected Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, took a significant step toward reconciliation by meeting with a leader from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. This encounter marked the first attempt at bridging the gap between these firm political rivals following the contentious elections in February.
Notably, less than two weeks ago, Ali Amin Gandapur, the chief minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and a prominent PTI leader, had declined to participate in Sharif’s oath-taking ceremony.
Recent developments, however, indicate a shift in tone. According to a statement issued by Sharif’s office, the federal government is committed to addressing the “genuine” demands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province that shares a border with Afghanistan.

After their meeting, Gandapur expressed optimism, stating that the prime minister assured him of collaborative efforts for the betterment of the people. Furthermore, Gandapur emphasized the need to engage with former Prime Minister Imran Khan to resolve political matters, to which Sharif responded positively, indicating that a meeting with Khan would be arranged.
The PTI has raised allegations of electoral rigging in favor of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN). The party has actively protested and demanded a recount of votes, challenging the results in numerous constituencies through legal channels.

Khan’s party faced additional challenges during the elections. It was stripped of its electoral symbol shortly before voting, compelling it to field candidates as independents. Moreover, the PTI’s electoral campaign encountered a crackdown by authorities. Khan himself has been incarcerated since August of the previous year and was convicted on lengthy prison terms just days before the election. He has consistently labeled these convictions as politically motivated.
Despite these tensions, the recent meeting between Shehbaz Sharif and Ali Amin Gandapur signals a potential thaw in relations, offering hope for constructive dialogue and cooperation in Pakistan’s political landscape.

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