Talks only with real-decision makers, 'not puppets': Hammad Azhar

Statement comes in response to PM Shehbaz Sharif who ruled out dialogue with PTI

Web Desk
PTI leader Hammad Azhar addressing a press conference in still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI
PTI leader Hammad Azhar addressing a press conference in still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI

  • Hammad says "we don't want to waste time in talks with puppets".
  • He says "puppets had no vote bank, were hiding behind crutches".
  • Interior minister says "serious talks" can only be held with premier.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is interested to hold a dialogue with the "real-decision makers" only for the sake of restoration of the Constitution and democracy, the party's senior leader and former federal minister Hammad Azhar said.

Azhar said that PTI's offer for the talks in the aftermath of May 9 was extended to the real decision-makers and not the "puppets [rulers] imposed on the nation", The News reported.

As per the publication, the statement had been made in reaction to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's tweet where he ruled out talks with the arch-rival party, which he said did not "qualify for a dialogue".

“We do not want to waste time negotiating with these puppets, who do not have any vote bank. These puppets were imposed on people who had no vote bank and were hiding behind crutches," Azhar said in response.

PM Shehbaz, while categorically rejecting talks with PTI leadership, had said: "The anarchists & arsonists who wear the garb of politicians and attack the symbols of the State do not qualify for a dialogue. They should rather be held to account for their militant actions."

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Friday also made it clear to Imran Khan-led party that "serious negotiation" can only be held with the premier.

"If you seriously want to negotiate, then the negotiations will be held only with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif," the interior minister said in a tweet.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who remained adamant about not holding talks with incumbent leaders whom he called "thieves", has now changed his stance and is willing to negotiate with the government.

For this, he had constituted a seven-member committee — comprising PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former defence minister Pervez Khattak, former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Sheikh, and former ministers Murad Saeed, Hammad Azhar, and Aun Abbasi.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had recently said that Khan, while constituting a negotiation team, should form an "alternate" committee as people keep leaving his party.

And this is what happened when a day earlier when Khattak announced relinquishing charge as PTI's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president.

The government's top ministers have ruled out holding talks with the PTI chief, however, Sanaullah has previously hinted as well that there might be some room for negotiations.

Sanaullah, in an interview with Voice of America (VOA), extended the assurance that PM Shehbaz would respond "positively" if the PTI chief approached him for talks.

The interior minister said regretted that Khan forms committees for holding negotiations but refuses to sit down with political opponents himself.