Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday dismissed the ongoing sit-ins in Islamabad as a diminutive storm.
Seeming to have held his ground in the battle of nerves underway in the federal capital since August 14, Prime Minister Sharif ridiculed Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s rhetoric of “roaring sea of supporters” in the capital, saying the firebrand cleric’s Dharna had become “a sea of empty chairs”.
The prime minister, who appeared to be in a jocular mood, reiterated his position that there was no question of giving in to the “unacceptable demands” of the protesting parties.
When asked if he would pursue resolution of the deadlock by having a discussion with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as he had done on March 13 at Bani Gala, Sharif said he would be happy to negotiate but that the conditions set by Khan were unacceptable.
“We have discussed our concerns openly before… but how did Imran Khan and Qadri suddenly decide to launch on Islamabad the same day?”
Nawaz recently came under fire for reaching out to the military leadership to play the role of “facilitator” to end the ongoing sit-ins staged by PTI and PAT on Constitution Avenue soon after the interior minister reached out to the army top brass to convince them that unless they got involved, a peaceful resolution of the crisis may not be possible.
The premier also lamented that the situation was beginning to hurt the country’s economy and its place in the international community and went on to explain that the cancellation of the Maldivian president’s visit was followed by the cancellation of a visit by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.