KARACHI: Speaking in the Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday the PTI leaders have hinted at securing a face saver to conclude the protests.
The minister was responding when the anchor asked, “Imran Khan has failed to have any of his demands — CEC resignation, foiling no-trust, early election and appointment of army chief of his choice — met. Are you (the government) willing for dialogue for elections on time?”
The minister said PMLN parliamentarians have had some informal contacts with their PTI counterparts, and it has emerged from these interactions that they (PTI) needed some date for election that would help them exit from the ongoing protest phase. He said getting an election date through agitation would not be a good tradition.
The minister said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met President Alvi and they talked 100 per cent on economy. They also discussed developing an economic agenda having an all-party consensus.
The minister said it was for the first time that Imran Khan’s advisers have given him the right advice, adding the PTI chief is gradually becoming realistic as he first absolved the US of the conspiracy charge and then went on to soften his stance about the establishment. His only complaint with the establishment now is why they (establishment) did not help him (survive the not-trust move), the minister added.
When asked that all army chiefs appointed by the PMLN governments eventually had better relations with Imran Khan, Khawaja Asif said politicians should stop thinking that the army chief would be their man. He said Feroze Khan Noon himself had stated that Gen Ayub Khan had betrayed him despite the fact that he gave him one-year extension on Turkish premier’s recommendation.
When Imran complains that they (establishment) did not save his government, he in fact states he had been standing on military’s crutches, and now he wants them back, the minister added.
Speaking in the programme, senior journalist Mujibur Rahman Shami said those who did not spoil the consensus on the appointment issue should be thanked, otherwise it had become quite nerve-racking. He said Imran Khan is a big stakeholder and he should stop looking to Rawalpindi. If he trusts his popularity, he should accept the new government and start preparing for new elections.
Programme host, Shahzeb Khanzada said that as Imran Khan plans to reach Rawalpindi, the interior ministry has submitted another response to the Supreme Court seized with the contempt of court case. The response contains PTI leader’s tweets, video messages as well as call records. The host said the ministry has contended that Imran khan has lied in his written statement.
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