Govt, opposition to reconvene tonight on Azadi March after initial 'cordial' discussion.

The government's negotiation committee which had held talks on Friday evening with the opposition's Rehbar Committee on the anti-government 'Azadi March' has put the discussion on hold to take into confidence top government laedership.

The meeting, which was held JUI-F leader Akram Durrani's residence in Islamabad, will reconvene later tonight after both sides have a discussion within their own groups. According to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, talks will resume at 10pm.

The Rehbar Committee members had also earlier gathered for a discussion between themselves, prior to the meeting with the government.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who led the government side, said the talks - which lasted around two hours - were held "in a cordial environment". "Both sides put forward their recommendations. God-willing we will give the nation good news soon."

The opposition committee members in attendance included Durrani, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP)'s Awais Noorani, PPP's Nayyar Bukhari and Farhatullah Babar, PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal, former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Awami National Party's Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Qaumi Watan Party's Hashim Babar and National Party's Tahir Bizenjo.

Top leadership of the main opposition parties including PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman were not present in the meeting.

From the government's side, the seven-member negotiation committee comprised Khattak, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sanjrani, MNA Asad Umar, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.

During the course of the meeting, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Waseem Ahmed was summoned, who arrived a few minutes later to join in the discussion.

Earlier, when asked by a journalist if the government team had brought with them the prime minister's resignation - as demanded by the JUI-F chief a day earlier - Khattak said talks about the resignation are "off the table".

Meanwhile, JUP's Awais Noorani, in a casual conversation with reporters, said that the opposition were standing by their demands. "If they haven't brought in the resignation today, they will have to one day."

JUI-F chief Rehman...

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