ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he was prepared to accept all ‘valid’ demands put forth by opposition parties except the Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islami Fazl’s (JUI-F) demand for the premier’s resignation, said sources.
The premier reportedly made the remarks in a meeting with the Pervez Khattak-led team tasked to negotiate with opposition parties taking part in the ‘Azadi March’.
During the meeting, Khattak apprised the premier of last night’s meeting with the opposition’s Rahbar Committee, headed by Akram Khan Durrani of the JUI-F, in Islamabad.
PM Imran emphasised that the Khattak-led team was fully empowered to negotiate and instructed them to respond in a positive manner if the opposition displays seriousness towards reaching a consensus.
“The government is ready to accept all valid demands except the demand for resignation.”
The negotiating team, which includes National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and former finance minister Asad Umar, is scheduled to meet Rehman committee later today.
The development comes on the fifth day of the ongoing anti-government sit-in led by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Last night, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government sent a second delegation to Fazl’s residence to break the impasse in the wake of the opposition’s ‘Azadi March’.
Led by former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the delegation met Fazl hours after the government’s negotiating team held talks with the Rehbar Committee and discussed their demands.
The meeting between Fazl and Hussain was also attended by Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, Senator Talha Mehmood, provincial minister Hafiz Ammar Yasir and opposition Rehbar Committee Convenor Akram Durrani.
In its list of demands, the Rehbar Committee has sought the premier’s resignation and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the armed forces. The government, on the other hand, has demanded of the committee to end the sit-in.
According to the sources, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have suggested an end to the sit-in and staging of a shutter-down protest throughout the country instead. JUI-F and other parties, however, favour continuing the sit-in alongside country-wide protests.