Opposition sets conditions for talks with govt

Published: October 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Rahbar Committee convener Akram Durrani has announced “no compromise” on the Azadi march, saying doors for dialogue are open if the government promises not to create any hurdles in the protest.

“Keeping in view its recent statements and initiatives, the government does not appear to be serious in negotiations,” said Durrani while addressing the media-persons after hosting the Rahbar Committee meeting at his residence on Monday.

The meeting was attended by leaders and representatives of nine opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Awami National Party and others.

PML-N in doldrums about ‘Azadi march’

Durrani warned against creating obstacles in the Azadi march, expressing conditional willingness in holding negotiations.
“If the government team wants to negotiate, first it has to give assurances that it will not create hurdles in the march,” said Durrani. “There will be no compromise on the Azadi march.”

He said the government constituted a committee for negotiations, but with the current statements of the prime minister, it does not feel like the government was serious in negotiations.

“I promise that the march will be peaceful, but warn the administration against creating hurdles in the march.”
The Rahbar Committee convener said demands presented in the all parties conference were the opposition’s demands.

“The government can contact the Rahbar Committee, but if even one member of the committee is absent, negotiations will not be held,” he added.

Opposition finally on same page on ‘Azadi March

Separately in Lahore, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was still confused whether to hold a public gathering or stage a sit-in.

“When he [Fazl] will disclose his agenda, the government will announce its strategy accordingly,” said the special assistant while addressing a news conference here.

The government, she said, would not obstruct the JUI-F’s peaceful protest, which was their constitutional right.

However, she said the general public had witnessed through the media that a militia force was being “trained and organised through massive financing”.

She asked, “What does it mean that around 10,000 well-trained and equipped militia would be part of the Azadi march?”

She said, “Are they coming to protest or wage a war.”

The government would take action keeping in view the situation at that time and according to the Constitution and the law, she added.

To a question, Dr Firdous said Fazl remained the Kashmir Committee chairman for 10 years but did nothing for its cause.

Maulana Fazl ‘open to talks on Azadi march’

“The PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] government, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has very effectively fought the Kashmir case all over the world,” she said, adding that the prime minister internationalised the issue in his historic speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Maulana Fazl has double standards,” said Firdous. “Again, he will pursue his personal and political interests in the name of Kashmir cause on October 27 when the entire Pakistani nation will be expressing solidarity with their occupied Kashmir brethren, who are facing curfew, tyranny and aggression at the hands of Indian forces.”

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan were part and parcel of each other.

Imran, she said, was not necessary for the PTI politically but was a national necessity under the current situation and challenges.

She said he was the only option for Pakistan as two political parties, which took turns to rule the country for decades, had ruined the state institutions and economy, increasing the level of poverty.

Firdous said after a long time, Pakistan had got an upright leader in the shape of Imran, who had no personal agenda or vested interests but the commitment to serve the country and the nation.

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