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October 20, 2019

Govt to opposition: Yes to talks, no to chaos

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October 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal ministers on Saturday asked the opposition to hold talks over the proposed Azadi March and sit-in, led by the JUI-F, as the government could not allow anyone to create chaos in the country. They said in case of any damage to the country and democracy, the government should not be held responsible.

In a press conference, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, flanked by Minister for Federal Education and Training, Shafqat Mehmood, cautioned Maulana Fazlur Rehman not to attack the foundations of the institutions. Khattak, who also heads government committee to negotiate with the protesting parties, said the committee is in contact with all the other parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Awami National Party. However, he maintained that the resignation of the prime minister as demanded by the JUI-F chief is out of question.

Khattak reiterated the government's offer to negotiate with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other opposition parties ready to march towards the capital on October 27. Pervaiz Khattak said the other side’s refusal for negotiations shows their ulterior motives. “They have another agenda and if there agenda is in the interest of the country, they should talk to us," he said. He said government would act in its own way if someone tried to assault the federal capital. He said JUI-F would be responsible if anything untoward happened. Khattak said opposition is was repeatedly invited for talks but it did not come to the table indicating their hidden agenda, adding they want to put the Kashmir issue on the back burner. He said Indians must be happy for this sorry state of affairs in Pakistan but the government would restore its writ.

The federal minister warned that interior ministry would handle the issue if they could not resolve their issues with committee. He said the country is progressing under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and opposition knows their politics would be finished if Prime Minister Imran completed his five-year term. He said such a situation was also created in the KP in the past but they fought against it and were chosen by the people once again.

He said objections to Speaker, Senate chairman are baseless adding that opposition parties are being contacted for negotiations.

Khattak said only those people have been inducted in the negotiating committee who understand politics and all names came with his consent.

The Minister Shafqat Mehmood said the students from Madaris should not be made part of the sit in. He said children must not be dragged into political issues.

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