–Pervaiz Elahi says govt won’t accept demand of PM’s resignation, hopes for breakthrough in talks
—JUI-F chief says govt shouldn’t bother with dialogue if Imran Khan’s resignation is off the table
––Fazl welcomes ISPR DG’s statement, says ‘consider JUI-F workers your own people and they will always stand with you’
ISLAMABAD: A deadlock persists in the negotiations between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) as Maulana Fazlur Rehman is adamant on his demand of the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan despite being offered the formation of a judicial or parliamentary commission to probe into allegations of rigging in the 2018 general elections.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Assembly (PA) Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, who is a member of government’s negotiation team, called on Maulana Fazl to find a way to end the opposition’s Azadi March.
Reportedly, the government’s offer was conveyed by Elahi to the JUI-F chief during Thursday’s meeting.
Talking to reporters before the meeting, Elahi said that he was hoping for a positive outcome and would soon give the nation some “good news”.
“We are hopeful and things seem to be going towards betterment,” he said, adding that recommendations are under consideration to break the ongoing deadlock.
However, Elahi said that there was no chance of accepting Fazl’s demand of the PM’s resignation because the incumbent government had been democratically elected by the people. “We are hopeful of finding a middle ground during the talks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the joint opposition’s Rehbar Committee met to discuss the future course of action.
Talking the media after a meeting, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said that Azadi March will take a new direction in two days.
He said that on the basis of recommendations presented during Thursday’s meeting, new moves will emerge in the protest. He added that new caravans from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) would soon join the Azadi March.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Farhatullah Babar said that the opposition is putting the government under pressure, calling it ‘the first phase’.
During the meeting, the JUI-F chief directed the party members to present their stance in the National Assembly (NA) with full zeal. The meeting decided that the opposition would give a tough time to the government and decided on a plan of action for the march and the parliamentary session.
PPP leader Farhatullah Babar, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq, PML-N Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Ameer Muqam, JUI-F’s Owais Noorani, Qaumi Watan Party’s (QWP) Hashim Babar, Jamiat Ahle Hadith’s Shafeeq Pasuri, National Party’s (NP) Tahir Bizenjo and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) Usman Kakar attended the meeting of the Rehbar Committee.
FAZL DIGS IN HEELS:
Meanwhile, addressing the Azadi March protesters camped at the H-9 ground on Thursday evening, Maulana Fazl reiterated the demand of the prime minister’s resignation, saying the government shouldn’t bother with dialogue if Imran Khan’s resignation was off the table.
The JUI-F chief said the prime minister has no option now as he has hit a dead end.
“You are at a dead end now and now you must decide whether you want to continue to remain there or come out and give back the people their right,” said the JUI-F chief.
He also brought up the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign fund case during his address.
He said the PTI was using “delaying tactics” in the foreign funding case pending with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“Why is your foreign funding case still pending in the ECP for the past 5 years? Your own senior leadership has gone to the commission and has said funding came from India, Europe, and many other places. You submitted 60 petitions in the court to delay the case. Every petition by the government has been rejected. Why has the election commission not been able to decide the matter?” he questioned.
The JUI-F chief also welcomed the statement made by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Major General Asif Ghafoor. Gen Ghafoor had said that the Pakistan Army was an “impartial institution and it wanted to remain so”.
“I want to say this to the state institutions that consider the JUI-F workers your own people and they will always be with you,” he said, hinting at supporting the Pakistan Army.
He said the ‘Azadi March’ had removed some of the misconceptions the society had about the religious segment.
“Our workers have displayed discipline and respected the rule of law throughout the rally – something acknowledged by the western media s well,” the JUI-F leader told the demonstrators.