ISLAMABAD - Only a day ahead of the government’s talks with the opposition’s Rehbar Committee on the latter’s anti-government protest march, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak Thursday took Prime Minister Imran Khan into confidence about the contacts made so far with the opposition.

The formal talks between the government’s seven-member negotiation team and the Rehbar Committee would open today to discuss demands of opposition parties who have given a protest call seeking resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and fresh elections. The “Azadi March” protest is scheduled to start on October 27 that will enter Islamabad on October 31.

Khattak, the head of the government’s negotiation team, also held separate meetings with the two allies of the government, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) to take them into confidence over the negotiation process.

The minister in his telephonic conversation apprised the premier on the contacts made by his team with the opposition parties. He also took the PM into confidence on the talks being held today.

After his meeting with the GDA’s MNA and Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza, the defence minister while talking to the reporters at the Parliament House said that the Rehbar Committee had put a condition that their protest march should be allowed to enter Islamabad without any disturbance and the government should not create hurdles in the way of their rallies. “We have offered them to come and their rallies would not be stopped,” he said adding that the government had made an offer to the opposition with open heart. “We have told the opposition that we are ready to talk to them under the constitution and in the light of courts decisions.”

Khattak, said that purpose of their meetings with the allies was aimed at taking them on board on the developments talking place regarding “Azadi March” and they would further take them into confidence after talks with Rehbar Committee take place today. “We hope that we would find out a solution in talks with the opposition,” he stressed while PTI MNA Asad Umar was standing beside him.

Responding to a question whether the government has decided under coercion by allowing the opposition to hold the march, the minister refuted that the government faced any pressure.”We have allowed them without any pressure,” he said adding that because they wanted that democratic setup should move ahead.

He also said that they had made it clear to the opposition that they would not talk on PM resignation but talks on their other demands.

Dr Fehmida Mirza speaking in the occasion appreciated the decision of government to allow the opposition to stage long march. “The negotiation committee has taken uson board and we have shared some points with them,” she said adding that they would meet again talks with the Rehbar Committee. The good thing is that every problem should be resolved democratically, all partners should be taken on board and we should move ahead with consensus, she said.

The government Wednesday had allowed the opposition’s protest march with the condition that it would take place within the ambit of law and Constitution.