The federal government on Saturday told PTI Chairman Imran Khan that the threats and dialogue offer could not go hand in hand in response to the former premier’s offer of holding talks on the condition of announcing fresh general polls.
After a PML-N meeting in Lahore, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah as well as party leaders Malik Ahmad Khan and Attaullah Tarar spoke to the media at their Model Town Secretariat.
A day earlier, the PTI chief softened his stance on possible talks with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders and appeared to be striking a conciliatory tone as he signalled his openness to “sit and talk and give a date for the general elections”.
However, while making the offer he also threatened
to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.
The offer for talks to the government appeared to mark a departure from the hardline stance he took during his mammoth November 26 Rawalpindi rally.
Read Govt ‘not keen’ to hold talks with PTI
Speaking at the party’s secretariat, Railways Minister Rafique said Imran had talked about conditional negotiations and then threatened to dissolve the assemblies, adding that threats, abuse, and negotiations could not be considered at the same time.
The minister added that the current federal government was a coalition set-up and any decision would be made after consulting with other allies.
Rafique told the media that the coalition government would not accept a conditional dialogue offer.
He said the government’s allies had serious reservations about negotiating with the PTI and giving it an opportunity for face-saving.
The PML-N leader added that the general polls would be held on time and the incumbent government was “not afraid of elections”.
He maintained that assemblies were made to legislate and not meant to be destroyed.
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Rafique added that the country needed political stability for economic recovery.
The railways minister claimed that in 2018, despite rigging, then opposition leader and current premier, Shehbaz Sharif, had presented a charter of economy.
Then premier Imran and his colleagues had not taken it seriously and mocked it.
However, Rafique added that the PML-N still cooperated with the government regarding legislation.
The minister reiterated that the PTI chief’s government ended with a constitutional and democratic change, adding that after being ousted, all the conspiracies of Imran and his facilitators had continued to fail.
Interior Minister Sanaullah also spoke during the press briefing, saying politicians never refused to negotiate.
“He [Imran] is the only politician who was imposed on the country who did not shake hands with the opposition for the entirety of [around] four years,” the minister added.
Sanaullah maintained that the deposed prime minister tried to force an election date by threatening the establishment but failed.
“He [Imran] kept asking for an election date from the third force but did not get it because they have become apolitical,” the minister said.
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