ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has ruled out for now any negotiations with the government over his decision to bring the federal capital to a standstill on Nov 2.

Talking to reporters outside his residence in Bani Gala on Friday, the PTI chief said his party would hold talks with the government only after shutting down Islamabad, and not before.

The PTI has announced that it will lay siege to parts of the city on Nov 2 if by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif doesn’t agree to an investigation into the Panama Papers leaks, under the terms of reference proposed by the opposition, or resign from his position.

When pressed by the journalists on the matter, Mr Khan said: “At this point in time, we will not fall into the trap of holding talks, and continue with our lockdown plans.”

The PTI chairman also criticised those who were “trying to create the impression that the army is behind” the PTI’s decision to shut down the federal capital.

“For the past seven months the prime minister has refused to answer questions about the Panama Papers leaks. The PTI is only calling for the accountability of the prime minister,” he said.

Mr Khan also demanded that the government name the persons behind the leak of details of a recent high-level meeting on security issues.

He said “serious efforts were being made to provide an escape route to the prime minister” on the issue of Panamagate.

Mr Khan claimed that even ministers were aware that the prime minister had committed corruption, “but were not speaking up out of fear”.

He asked Mr Sharif to hire a private lawyer, instead of asking the attorney general to defend him in the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2016



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