No talks until Imran apologises for attack on military installations, says Dar

Published May 29, 2023
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in an interview on Sunday. — Geo News screengrab
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in an interview on Sunday. — Geo News screengrab

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday said negotiations can’t be held with PTI Chairman Imran Khan until “he apologises, takes corrective actions, owns the problem, and promises” the nation that anything even close to the May 9 riots will take place in the future.

In recent days, Imran has made impassioned appeals to state institutions to immediately sit with his party, talk and find a solution to put the country on the path of progress. The PTI on Saturday also constituted a seven-member “negotiation committee” without any explanation of who the committee will negotiate with for talks on elections.

Speaking on Geo’s Jirga, the PML-N leader was of the view that the May 9 riots “changed everything completely” bringing the election negotiations between the government and PTI back to square one.

“Now in this situation how will you negotiate until he (Imran) doesn’t apologise to the nation, he has only condemned the Jinnah House [torching] along with others, but he hasn’t condemned attacks on martyr monuments and military installations.”

The finance minister urged the PTI chief to go through the process of being held accountable and facing the law just like PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif went through and were proven innocent.

“You also go through this process. If you are a leader, you should at least do this,” he said. “Otherwise this is fascism.”

Dar added: “Let the law make its way. When all the evidence is there, it will be established who was behind the May 9 riots.”

Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah rebuffed PTI’s offer of talks, saying that “negotiations are held with politicians and not such people.”

The security czar was addressing a rally at Faisalabad.

“He (Imran Khan) says now to have negotiations with him. What negotiations should be held with you? You, shameless man, have not even condemned this event (May 9 riots) and never talked like politicians.”

Sanaullah questioned how will the government answer to the families of martyrs if it sits down for talks with the PTI.

“If we do this then what answer will we give to martyrs’ families? We cannot face them [then]. When inquiry happens of all this matter then the responsibility will be attached to this fitna.”

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique made it clear that there was no way possible for talks with the PTI, especially after the vandalisation of military installations.

“Imran has formed a committee,” Rafique said while talking to the media in Lahore. “Who will talk to them? No one. This is no situation to hold talks.”

The PML-N leader claimed that Imran had told his team to end the previous rounds of talks with the government, which were held on the orders of the Supreme Court last month and continued into May.

Rafique and Dar were part of the government team for talks with the PTI on elections.

He told the reporters to also question the politicians that were representing the PTI in talks about the matter.

Rafique urged Imran and the entire PTI leadership to accept their mistake and apologise to the whole nation over the May 9 riots.

“They should release a public apology,” the PML-N minister said, emphasising that what PTI did did not fall under the garb of politics.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon also shared the views of the federal ministers and said that negotiations with the PTI were only possible once Imran “personally apologises” to the nation, families of the martyrs, and everyone who suffered during the May 9 events.

“You tried to become an underworld don, a mafia in the country and harmed the people and institutions. And now you are saying you are ready for negotiations.

“This means whatever happened holds no value for you,” Memon said during a press conference in Karachi. “Will Imran Khan answer the nation today? Imran Khan doesn’t care about his party workers.”

PTI committee

Soon after the PTI chief notified Omar Ayub Khan as the party’s new secretary-general on Saturday — rep­lacing Asad Umar — the new secretary, constituted a seven-member committee for talks, on the party chief’s instructions. The team will consist of Shah Meh­mood Qureshi, Pervez Khattak, Asad Qaiser, Haleem Adil Sheikh, Aon Abbas Buppi, Murad Saeed and Hammad Azhar.

But a number of PTI leaders Dawn spoke to expressed their surprise over the formation of this committee, and some pointed out that many of the leaders named as part of the negotiation committee were either in jail or in hiding to avoid arrest.

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