No talks if resignation is only demand: Imran


Staff Reporter


Prime Minister Imran said on Friday that there was no need for negotiations with the Azadi Marchers if his resignation was their only demand.
The prime minister held separate meetings with Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and the government Committee regarding the Azadi March.
Elahi apprised the prime minister of the developments in his talks with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He sought advice from the prime minister on how to proceed further in his negotiations with Fazl.
The government’s negotiating team met the prime minister to inform him about the demands of the Rahbar Committee.
“There’s a lot of talk going on about my resignation,” said the prime minister. “If that is the only demand of the opposition, then there is no need for negotiations,” he said.
Meanwhile, responding to a point of order raised by PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the National Assembly, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak invited the opposition to come to the dialogue table for the sake of democracy, constitution, and law in the country.
He said the opposition talks of democracy and law, but it is not ready to sit on the dialogue table to sort out issues. He accused JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman of treating the negotiations with the government “as a mere timepass”.
“If you [Maulana Fazl] stand for democracy, then this [Parliament] is where your voice should be heard. You can keep sitting in Islamabad but please do not harm the country,” Khattak said.
He also criticised the opposition for not exercising the democratic options available for redressal of their concerns. He said the people of Pakistan have rejected the opposition parties in the general elections and they should accept voters’ verdict.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has chosen me to head the government’s negotiation team. I included the Senate chairman and speakers of the national and Punjab assemblies in the team to facilitate me,” Khattak asserted in his NA address.
He warned the opposition that the current situation would not last for long. “This [anti-government protests] cannot continue. This is not how we will run this country.”
To another point, Khattak said the Constitution of Pakistan allows the government to promulgate ordinances. The National Assembly witnessed a heated session on Friday as government and opposition lawmakers traded barbs over the ongoing Azadi March.
Earlier, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf questioned NA Speaker Asad Qaiser’s induction in the government’s negotiating team. “Mr Speaker, you are the custodian of this house. Why are you becoming controversial? This government is bent on making every institution controversial,” said the PPP leader.
Sources said Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar has been given the responsibility along with Pervaiz Elahi to formulate strategy to come out of crisis.
Asad Qaiser has been assigned duty to formulate points to get positive results of talks. Qaisar would contact opposition and other legal experts to formulate actionable points. It is worth mentioning that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has already rejected offer of Judicial Commission and Parliamentary committee

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