Updated May 27th, 2024 at 13:15 IST

Nawaz Sharif's PML-N, PPP Urges Imran Khan's PTI to Abandon Protests, Calls for 'Meaningful' Talk

The 71-year-old veteran PPP politician said Imran Khan’s party wants to carve its path by confronting the establishment and the government in court.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif. | Image:AP
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Lahore: The ruling coalition of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has invited jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to abandon its street protests and engage in "meaningful" dialogue with the government, a media report said on Monday.

Senate Chairman Yousuf Raza Gilani and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal emphasised the government’s openness to talks but stressed that the beleaguered party of Khan must decide with whom it wants to negotiate, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

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Gilani, speaking to the media in Lahore, reiterated the government’s willingness to negotiate. However, the former prime minister said Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) “seems intent on negotiating with someone else”.

The 71-year-old veteran PPP politician said Imran Khan’s party wants to carve its path by confronting the establishment and the government in court.

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“(Our) doors are open for meaningful talks but the PTI will have to decide with whom they want to negotiate,” Gilani said.

The acting president of Pakistan said the country currently suffers from instability and therefore all political leaders must come on the same page.

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Gilani said during their time in opposition under the PTI-led government, they were willing to engage in political talks, despite the PTI’s reluctance to do so, the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Replying to another question, Gilani emphasised that the PPP remains committed to supporting the current government.

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“The PPP has never indicated that it is not part of the government; we are aligned with the government in all matters,” Gilani said.

The former prime minister said consultations within the party are underway regarding joining the cabinet at both the Centre and in Punjab.

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Meanwhile, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that the government’s doors were open to all parties for purposeful and meaningful negotiations.

Iqbal said the PTI was the ruling party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and they should serve the people there.

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“I advise the PTI leadership to shun streets (protests) and enter the (parliamentary) houses to play a positive role as opposition,” he added.

The minister criticised the PTI, saying the party wanted to use the courts after being defeated in politics.

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“The PTI wants to make its way by fighting the establishment and the government in the court,” he said.

He claimed that there was uncertainty in the country because of a court decision. “Our doors are open to all parties for purposeful and meaningful negotiations but purposeful and meaningful negotiations can only happen when the parties negotiate with a positive agenda,” he added.

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Iqbal said that the nation could never forgive the events of May 9 when Khan's supporters went on an unprecedented rampage, attacking key military installations for the first time. He expressed the hope that the next five years would save the economy from political confrontation. He stressed that there should not be the game of rallies anymore rather “we should compete for public service”.

Recently, Pakistan's Punjab government approved the registration of more cases against jailed former prime minister Khan and his party men for inciting hate against the state institutions, especially the powerful Pakistan Army.

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The 71-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician has been in jail since August last year after being convicted in some of the nearly 200 cases slapped on him since his ouster in April 2022. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Republic and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Published May 27th, 2024 at 13:15 IST