Govt rejects Imran Khan’s negotiation offer

The “foreign agent” who committed “robbery” of Rs 60 billion was to be brought to justice, says Marriyum Aurangzeb

By APP & Web Desk
May 27, 2023
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb (right) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/APP

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday turned down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s offer for talks, saying the government cannot hold talks with those who "attacked the state".

The deposed prime minister — who was removed from office via a vote of no confidence in April last year — said he is ready to speak to "anyone who is in power" after his party's top leaders began jumping ship following the May 9 riots.


Reacting to his offer, the information minister said: “Dialogue cannot be held with those who set the country on fire, create chaos and anarchy, fills the minds of masses with hatred, and harbour armed groups.”

She said that Khan was not appealing for negotiations, he was, in fact, seeking an “NRO”.

Khan had said that he was forming a committee which will talk to "anyone who is in power" on two things.

"If it helps the country according to 'them', I will leave politics. Second, how is it beneficial for the country if elections are held in October," Khan had said about the objective of the committee.

Taking a jibe at the PTI chief, Marriyum said the “foreign agent” who committed “robbery” on Rs 60 billion was to be brought to justice.

She ruled out talks with those who attacked sensitive installations and buildings which were symbols of national pride including General Headquarters (GHQ), those who desecrated the memorials of martyrs and Ghazis, who attacked ambulances, hospitals and schools and were involved in vandalism.

The information minister said talks cannot be held with those who “poisoned the minds of the youth”. “Negotiations could not be held with the leaders of the criminals and terrorists,” she added.

The PML-N leader said while his party crumbled like a “castle of sand”, Imran was pleading for talks, recalling how "electables" were brought in planes to join the PTI.

Marriyum opined that parties not formed on any political ideology were disintegrated like the PTI.

Later in the day, the PTI announced the constitution of a seven-member team for negotiating with the incumbent government on the direction of its chairman.

The negotiation team comprises PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former defence minister Pervez Khattak, former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Sheikh, and former ministers Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, and Aun Abbasi.