Asif slams PTI's ‘lopsided dialogue policy’

Defence minister says such an approach is doomed to failure

Our Correspondent May 05, 2024
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.—Photo: File


Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) lopsided policy of engaging in dialogue, saying the party lacked political acumen.

Taking exception to PTI founder Imran Khan’s statement ruling out talks with “three political parties”, the minister said such an approach was doomed to failure.

“Yesterday, they formed a three-member committee and said that they would negotiate only with the army chief and the DG ISI, but later they made a small amendment that they will negotiate with all political parties except three parties," the minister said while addressing a news conference.

“If they have to hold selected negotiations, failure is inevitable from day one,” he added.

"I’m a supporter of a national dialogue in which the judiciary, establishment, political parties and other power stakeholders should also be present and the problems of the country and the people should be discussed,” he said. “If negotiations are to be held, then all stakeholders should be included.”

“The head of the party, who tried to rebel against the army, also used abusive language against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. But now they are asking for negotiations. There is no principle in Imran Khan’s politics and statements. The May 9 incident will also be discussed in the National Assembly."

He said that military installations and properties were attacked under a planned conspiracy of a political party on May 9.

"There have been differences of political parties with the establishment throughout our history and it was expressed from time to time. However, it was the first time that a political party expressed its anger after a vote of no-confidence was passed against it," he added.

He said, "The evidence was recorded by the media in the form of videos and hundreds of people were arrested and it was a day in which the red line was crossed. Ideological and political differences have their place but one political party decided all the targets under joint planning with its leadership."

He alleged that the way they reached Lahore, Mianwali and Rawalpindi without any hindrance was a huge conspiracy against the integrity of Pakistan and against the forces of Pakistan. "The party leader demanded sacrifices from workers and asked them to attack the military installations, and martyrs' memorials, but the workers were abandoned in difficult times. Some of them have been punished by terrorism courts and some cases are pending."

He said that attempts were made to destabilise national institutions and all methods were tried that no one had dared before in the 75-year history of Pakistan. "Even India, Pakistan's worst enemy, could not attack Pakistan with such boldness to date. There is a contradiction in the leadership of the political party which attacked the military installations," he added.


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