–PM says ‘there’s enough evidence to suggest that foreign hands were behind Azadi March’
–Says ‘state comes first and then comes politics’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday denied that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government was negotiating any deal with the major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — as he claimed that there was enough evidence to suggest that foreign hands were behind the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)-led Azadi March in the federal capital.
“The government is committed not to strike any covert deal with the opposition leaders facing corruption charges,” the premier said while addressing a joint meeting of parliamentary parties of the ruling coalition.
Imran also told the lawmakers that there was enough information to suggest that the Azadi March sit-in would end in the next couple of days.
“We will start the second phase as the opposition parties would soon end their protest and move towards debate in parliament. We have to respond to the opposition’s narrative inside the parliament now and all the ministers and parliamentarians should come to the parliamentary proceedings fully prepared. Our narrative will prevail,” a lawmaker quoted Imran as saying in the meeting.
He said the prime minister also restricted the party leaders from criticising opposition parties and told cabinet ministers to respond to their attacks responsibly.
The parliamentarians also passed a resolution expressing full confidence in the leadership of Imran Khan and vowed to stand by the prime minister through thick and thin.
During his address, Imran told the treasury lawmakers that his entire focus was on economic reforms. He said that he was himself monitoring the economic situation of the country, which had now started to show positive indicators.
He said that the protests were aimed at destablising the economic revival, which pointed towards a hidden agenda of harming Pakistan.
On the occasion, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who is heading the government’s committee tasked with negotiating with the opposition leadership, gave a detailed briefing on the status of the talks and the demands made by the Rehbar Committee.
Earlier in the day, during a meeting with PTI leader Babar Awan, Prime Minister Imran said that “state comes first and then comes politics”.
“We will not let the state become weak. In the eyes of law, everyone is equal and the same law is applied to everyone,” Awan quoted Imran as saying.
“The dharna is a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision. The protesters had conditional permission for the jalsa only and not to stage a dharna,” the PM was quoted as saying. He added that the Kashmir cause has vanished from the scene because of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Awan stated that an improvement in the economy is the actual reason behind Fazl’s sit-in.
Strengthening state institutions was also among the agendas of the meeting to which Awan said, “The stability of Pakistan is associated with the institutions.”