Govt rejects Imran’s condition for talks

ISLAMABAD   –   Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday said that PTI chairman Imran Khan has accepted defeat of his flop show as he failed to gather a large crowd for his May 25 anti-government long march to force government to announce early elections. She also said that government rejected the offer of talks of PTI chief.

Addressing a press conference here, the information minister said that former prime minister Imran Khan has admitted in his press conference held in Peshawar that he called off his protest after facing defeat.

She denied the claim of Khan that he ended his protest to avoid bloodshed and violence. She questioned what threat of bloodshed he and his party faced when they had already reached Islamabad after a day of violent protests.

Khan on Thursday had called off his protest abruptly, giving a six-day deadline to the government to announce early elections with the warning that he would again announce the long march if the demand was not met.

Referring to the presser of Khan, the information minister said that PTI chairman admitted that they had come without preparations and now they would march to the   capital with full preparations.

She alleged that the PTI had plans to hold a bloody long march. She claimed that Rs 3.5 million each were distributed among MNAs and MPAs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from the public exchequer. But even then, Khan failed to gather even “35000 people for the long march,” she added.

She said that intelligence agencies had given reports that the protestors were armed with weapons. She said that the government had removed all obstacles in the way of protestors after the order of the Supreme Court.

Marriyum chided that the former prime minister ran away after reaching D-Chowk, the main venue of the protest march. “The real thing is that the masses have rejected negative and violent politics,” she said.

She also denied the claim of Khan that the government resorted to violence. She said that as many as 18 personnel of police and Rangers got injured during the violent clashes. She said that it was a repeat of 2014 sit-in of PTI and he was now blaming others for his failure.

Responding to the offer of Khan to hold talks with the government, the minister questioned why he was giving offers of talks now when he always denied sitting with the then opposition in the past.  She rejected the condition set by Khan that he would talk with the government only if it announces the date of early election. She said that the government would complete its term and the date of general election would be decided by the leadership of allied parties of the coalition and not on the dictation of Khan.

She said that the government has not deprived overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote but wanted that the voting process of overseas Pakistanis should not be made controversial in future.

She said, “Neutrals have decided to remain neutral,” and there was no confusion over this, and blamed Khan for creating confusion over this issue.

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