Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said out of sincerity and commitment with the country, the coalition parties had shown an unprecedented unity throughout the first year of their government, becoming a matter of worry for the opposition parties. The prime minister, addressing a meeting of the coalition parties, said in the beginning, the opposition and even the people in the coalition parties were not hopeful of the durability of the alliance. However, all of the allied parties manifested their democratic spirit and played their constructive role to maintain unity as well as for steering the country out of pervading challenges, he added. PM Shehbaz said despite time to time differences on certain matters, the allied parties remained united to face the challenges inherited from the previous government. In the democracy, the decisions were made through consultation, not imposition, he added. Referring to the ongoing controversy regarding the court verdict on general elections in Punjab, he said nowhere in the world had ever happened that a court granted a stay on the implementation of a law even before its promulgation. The decision of the three-member bench even prompted the bar councils to raise their voice – for sake of the rule of law, not out of love for the government – as they also believed that the decision was contrary to the norms of the justice, he added. PM Shehbaz said the coalition parties were striving wholeheartedly to take the struggle of overcoming the challenges to a logical end, despite all odds. He told the participants that the International Monetary Fund’s agreement was in the final phase as their last conditionality was to make deposits. He lauded the efforts of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Army Chief General Asim Munir for the success of the process. He also told the participants of his upcoming telephonic conversation with new Chinese Premier Li Qiang during the last week of April when they would discuss the matters of mutual interest. He reiterated the coalition government’s resolve to overcome the challenges it had taken up for sake of the country’s progress. “I again assure you that you have elected me your prime minister and I will try my best to live up to your expectations,” he concluded. Meanwhile, a private TV channel claimed that the ruling allies have hit a snag over holding talks with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). During the meeting, a disagreement took place among the parties in the coalition government over holding talks with the opposition party as some believed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan could not be trusted, while others insisted that political forces should not shut channels for negotiations. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stressed holding dialogue with the opposition, with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Balochistan National Party, Balochistan Awami Party, Chaudhry Salik, and Mohsin Dawar backing him, sources said. The PPP chairman said closing the door for talks is against his party’s principles and “undemocratic”. “It is the need of the hour that the path of dialogue be adopted and the country taken out of the crisis,” Bilawal said. But representatives of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) rejected Bilawal’s opinion and said that it isn’t in the coalition’s interests to hold talks with the deposed prime minister – who was ousted from the office via a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly in April last year. “Imran Khan isn’t a political force; we oppose holding dialogue with him,” the JUI-F opined, while JWP’s Shahzain Bugti said that his party did not oppose talks but “Imran is a liar”. Bugti added that the PTI chairman is “untrustworthy”. The meeting ended without reaching a consensus on the matter of holding dialogue, the sources added. Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said all parties to the ruling alliance were “united” and there was no truth in the false reports about its meeting which was underway. “Speculations being made in some section of the media about the meeting of ruling parties are baseless and incorrect,” she said in a news statement. The minister regretted that the media started airing news regarding the meeting by attributing to leaders of allied parties even prior to the issuance of final communiqué. She said decisions were being taken with the input of all the parties which were united. “Consultation is underway and the information minister would issue a joint communiqué [of the meeting],” she added.