A media report on Sunday said Pakistan’s ruling coalition has rejected former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue, saying the talks were held with politicians, not terrorists.
The government also stated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)PTIThe Express Tribune reported that the leader was now seeking the National Reconciliation Act (NRO).
The development came as Khan put together a seven-member team for talks with the government – in order to reach a consensus on a date for a general election – amid a widespread crackdown on his party.
The crackdown, which began after violent protests on May 9, has thrown the PTI movement into a deep existential crisis as dozens of key party leaders leapfrog each day.
Among the prominent leaders who left the party were Secretary-General Asad Omar, prominent leader Fuad Chaudhry and former minister. Shireen Mazari.
On 9 May, violent protests erupted after the paramilitary guards arrested Khan from the premises of the Supreme Court in Islamabad. His party workers vandalized dozens of military installations, including the home of the Lahore Corps Commander, Mianwali Air Base, and the ISI building in Faisalabad in response to Khan’s arrest.
Crowds also stormed the Army Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.
Thousands of Khan’s supporters were arrested in the aftermath of the violence, which the powerful military described as a “black day” in the country’s history.
In response to the offer of talks, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader, Nawaz Sharif, took to Twitter to state that the talks were being held with politicians only. “There will be no talks with a group of terrorists and saboteurs who burn the memory of the martyrs and set the country on fire,” he said.
Information Minister Marium Aurangzeb said in a statement, “Those who attack the state will be punished. They were not negotiated.”
It claimed Khan’s plea for talks is a plea for the National Reconciliation Act (NRO).
When Khan was in power, he often said that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had terminated criminal cases against leaders of various parties including PML-N and PPP through NRO but would not give the “thieves” any NRO.
Maryam said that holding talks with those who desecrated the memory of the martyrs is “a desecration of the martyrs.”
She said Khan wants talks after burning ambulances, hospitals and schools and poisoning the minds of young people, adding that there will be no talks with him.
He said Imran called for talks when his party leaders abandoned him in flocks.
She reminded Khan that he had not spoken with the opposition on the economy, Kashmir, national security issues, COVID-19 and the FATF issue, but now he is urging talks.
Stating that he is a “foreign agent” and a “Tushakhana thief”, the Information Minister said that negotiations are not conducted with those who allegedly looted 60 billion rupees as this person is brought to court and not to the negotiating table.
Poverty Alleviation Minister Shazia Mari, who belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party, said Khan was responsible for the situation that arose after May 9.
The minister said that the mob attacked Jinnah’s house in Lahore and the general residence in Rawalpindi on the orders of Khan. She said, “He keeps his children safe in London, but he incites the sons of the nation to commit acts against the state.”
Al-Marri pointed out that PPP President Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the country’s foreign minister, tried to bring political parties to the negotiating table and formed a team consisting of senior leaders for negotiations with political parties. But Imran sabotaged Bilawal’s efforts.
She said Khan’s arrogance led to his downfall, lamenting that the former chief minister did not allow PTI to become a political party.
“Talking about negotiations after everything is done is pretentious,” she said.
A spokesman for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Hafiz Hamdullah, also called Khan the mastermind of the May 9 attacks. He said that targeting military installations is tantamount to waging war on the state.
He said that a rebel is not negotiated with but deserves severe punishment.
While Hamdullah expected prison to be Khan’s destination, he said it was time for him to answer for his actions. “Inviting Khan for talks is nothing but a joke,” he added.


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