PM assigns Ishaq Dar to negotiate with PTI

December 02, 2014

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Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid.—APP/File
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid.—APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid Monday said the government was always ready to hold dialogue with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for resolving the prevailing political stalemate in the country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assigned the task to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to resume the stalled negotiations process, he said while speaking to a private TV channel.

The government had ruled out on Sunday the possibility of resuming dialogue with PTI, after its chairman Imran Khan said he would shut down major cities, and then the whole country, later this month.

Addressing a crowd of thousands assembled at D-Chowk, the PTI chief had unveiled his party's ‘Plan C’ to put pressure on the ruling government.

“On Thursday (Dec 4), I will go to Lahore and shut it down. On Dec 8 I will shut down Faisalabad; on Dec 12, I will go to Karachi and shut it down. By Dec 16, I will close down all of Pakistan,” Imran had said.

Responding to the PTI chief's ‘Plan C’, Information Minister Rashid had said the government would not resume talks until the PTI chief gave up what he called “the politics of turmoil”.

Also read: Govt decides to resume talks with PTI

However, during today's talk he said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has constantly followed the path of reconciliation. Elaborating, he said, the PML-N leadership visited Imran Khan in Lahore when he was injured and prayed for his early recovery and offered PTI to form its government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa despite having no clear majority.

In addition to that, the government has been exhibiting the desire to work together for welfare of the masses, he added.

The information minister said the government has effectively tackled terrorism, improved the prevailing energy situation and national economy, adding that all things have now started moving in the right direction. “We are now on the right track.”

To a question, Rashid recalled that at one stage there was agreement between the two sides on 5.5 points out of six, but unfortunately all of a sudden things changed on its head when PTI chief vetoed his negotiating team.

Pervaiz Rashid said all political parties should follow the politics of cooperation and not confrontation, adding that PTI chief Imran Khan should play an active role of opposition in the National Assembly for which the people have given them mandate.

To another question, he regretted that Imran Khan attempted to play with sentiments of the nation by holding protest and long march on August 14, the day Pakistan came into being. Besides, he gave another date of December 16 – the date of fall of Dhaka, for implementing “Plan-C announced on November 30” in the federal capital, he added.

The minister alleged that Imran Khan was using official resources of the KP government for attending sit-in and public meetings against the federal government. Contrary to this, the PML-N government never used official machinery for the purpose, he added.

He said a section of media gave undue projection to the PTI chief and turned a small number of participants into mammoth gatherings, avoiding showing empty chairs at the venue.

Pervaiz Rashid was of the view that PTI's protests and public meetings could not transform into a ‘movement’ because it was not being run on any logical, principled, truth and solid grounds.

“These are just engineered protest processions as PTI Chairman Imran Khan has not presented any evidence in the courts with regard to rigging in the 2013 polls,” he maintained.