Talks fruitless if Azadi marchers adamant on resignation, says PM Imran


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that there was no need for negotiations with the Azadi March protesters if his resignation was their only demand.

The prime minister held separate meetings with Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and the government’s talks committee regarding the Azadi March.

Elahi apprised the prime minister of the developments in his talks with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He sought advice from the prime minister on how to proceed further in his negotiations with Fazl.

The government’s negotiating team separately informed Prime Minister Imran about the demands of the joint opposition’s Rehbar Committee.

“There’s a lot of talk going on about my resignation,” said the prime minister. “If that is the only demand of the opposition, then there is no need for negotiations,” he said.

Sources claimed that Elahi will take an important message of the prime minister to the JUI-F chief in their meeting on Friday evening.

Elahi will meet members of the Rehbar Committee as well before he sits down with the JUI-F chief.

On Thursday, the government’s offer to form a judicial or parliamentary commission to probe into allegations of rigging in the 2018 general elections was conveyed by Elahi to the JUI-F chief.

However, according to the sources, Fazl did not budge and, instead, said that if the premier doesn’t resign, fresh elections will be called in three months. He said that the government can decide between the two options.

Sources further said that JUI-F has completed preparations for other options and will wait for the government’s reply till Sunday after which they will start acting on the next strategy.

According to the sources, the next strategy is the closure of major highways across Pakistan. He added that the option of resigning from all provincial and federal seats will be looked at in the next stage.

The government has started preparing for the opposition’s next strategy and is preparing its plan on the basis of security intelligence, the sources added.


Meanwhile, addressing the Azadi March protesters camped at the H-9 ground on Thursday evening, 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 had also brought up the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign fund case during his address.

He had claimed 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 had questioned.