Govt says ready to hold ‘unconditional talks’ with PTI

Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah tell Imran Khan threats and talks cannot go together

Web Desk
Federal ministers Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Saad Rafique address press conference in Islamabad. -Screengrab
Federal ministers Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Saad Rafique address press conference in Islamabad. -Screengrab

  • Govt calls on PTI to open channel for fair negotiations.
  • Saad Rafique says govt allies have reservations over talks.
  • Rana Sanaullah asks Imran Khan to mend his threatening ways. 

The government Saturday turned down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s invitation to parleys for early elections, arguing threats and talks could not go together.

“They should sit with us for unconditional negotiations,” said Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah.

The former prime minister, who has been demanding elections since his ouster through a no-confidence motion in April, invited the PDM-led government to talk over the possibility of early polls and warned that around 66% of Pakistan would have to vote for by-polls if the government in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa dissolved the assemblies.

“It’s them (PTI), who need talks not us. They start the talk of talks and then shy away from even talking about it,” said Rafique, adding,” Negotiations are part of political process and complex problems are resolved when two sides hear each other out”. 

H said the dissolution of assemblies was not an act to be proud of for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government. “We want the assemblies to complete their constitutional term.”

"If Imran Khan is serious then he should understand threats and negotiations are mutually exclusive."

The minister further stated the government's allies had severe concerns about holding talks with PTI.

He said that the government would hold unofficial talks with PTI but the party was told that the PDM would be the one to decide if they wanted a dialogue.

Meanwhile, the interior minister warned Imran Khan against offering talks topped with threats and asked him to revisit his behaviour.

"He [Khan] will not get anything due to his threatening behaviour," Sanaullah said

Earlier today, Sanaullah while talking to the media had said that in politics, parties had to work together because no progress could be made without talks and negotiations.

He, however, said that the ruling coalition had no backdoor links with Chief Minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi and in the event of any talks with the Pakistan Muslime League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) leader.

Moving on, Saad Rafique said it was Imran Khan, who mocked Shehbaz Sharif's charter of the economy and subjected him to NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) taunts, despite the fact that PML-N had been a part of the legislative process when they were in opposition.

He (Khan) was the first prime minister who used to skip seats to come to the Parliament so as not to meet the opposition, the railway minister said.

“Imran Khan’s constitutional term ended in a constitutional and democratic way.”