The government has made its efforts known for dialogue but reminded that its peace efforts will not allow anybody to disrupt order in the federal capital. Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who has been entrusted by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) with the task of engaging the opposition parties ahead of their planned anti-government march, has said they are open for dialogue but warned that they will not allow anyone to create chaos in the country. Sources claim that efforts are being made to contain the opposition.
The government believes that opposition should focus on negotiation and must bring issues on the table. “If they [opposition parties] have any issue or agenda, they should bring it with them and we can talk,” Mr Khattak said during an informal chat with some reporters here on Thursday, minutes after a news conference of National Party (NP) chief Hasil Bizenjo in which he announced that his party would fully participate in the Oct 31 ‘Azadi March’ by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).
Responding to a question, he termed the demand for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation ‘ridiculous’.https://t.co/SU0Wq6YmIE
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) October 18, 2019
JUI-F is preparing to march towards Islamabad and sabotage the order by challenging the writ of the state. There are some photos circulating on social media suggesting that the party is ready to use violence when and as needed.
Mr. Khattak, however, claimed that he has already established contacts with leaders of the opposition parties, including JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He said he had sent a message to the Maulana, asking the latter to try to resolve the matter through talks as Pakistan was a democratic country.
The minister also invoked the identity card to get the attention of the JUI-F. “We have told Maulana Sahib that we are Pathans and we resolve our matters through Jirgas,” he said, adding that he would speed up contacts with the opposition parties from Friday (today).
The JUI-F chief has rejected all the offers and maintained to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister. He asserted, “there can be no talks until the premier steps down”. This is the prime demand of the opposition. The government, on the other hand, is not willing to consider such ‘ridiculous’ demand.
— 92 News HD Plus (@92newschannel) October 16, 2019
Muhammad Malik, a renowned TV anchor, and political commentator said in a talk show, Tonight with Moeed Pirzada, that the government is not serious to continue talks with the JUI-F since the appointment of Mr. Khattak as the committee head is a clear indication of the same. He also pointed out that Mr. Khattak is not someone who enjoys the confidence of the Premier and his party. “I do not think that the government is serious in negotiation,” he said.
However, Irshad Bhatti maintained that the Prime Minister is serious to resolve the matter and the headship of Mr. Khattak is a symbolic message that the PTI is serious in talks. “Mr. Khattak is from KPK. He understands Maulana more than anybody else. Therefore, the premier has wisely tasked him to deal with JUI-F,” he argued.
PTI’s Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain argued that the negotiation is part of a democratic political process and that his party is interested to get engaged with JUI-F. “But if they do not want to hold talks we cannot do anything. We will ensure that nobody challenges the writ of the state,” he said. Dr. Hussain urged the opposition to focus on the country’s economic condition and must not pose threats to internal security.
Our sources claim that Maulana wanted to be politically relevant. He is not leading a protest to get the resignation of the Prime Minister rather he is making all possible efforts to be taken seriously in Pakistan politics. However, both PPP and PML-N are seeking for political concessions since leaders of both parties are in jails under corruption charges.
JUI-F activists in Peshawar prepare for Azadi March. These are scary images. What have we created in madrassas over the years… pic.twitter.com/txZY6aMTTl
— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) October 13, 2019