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Imran Khan Willing to Accept Opposition Demands

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Prime minister has reportedly told negotiators he is willing to consider all ‘valid’ demands apart from his resignation

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday reportedly told a team negotiating an end to the opposition’s Azadi March that he would accept all their demands—except for the one calling for his resignation.

According to local media, the cricketer-turned-politician met the team, led by Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, at Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad as efforts to resolve the dharna led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, gathered pace. Local broadcaster Geo News reported that the prime minister had told the negotiating team that he would agree to all the “valid” demands forwarded by the opposition so long as they were in accordance with the Constitution. He also empowered the team to conduct negotiations freely in order to end the dharna in Islamabad. However, he said there would be no negotiation on his resignation.

The negotiating team will now take this response to the opposition’s negotiators, the Rehbar Committee, who will deliberate on the matter before issuing their response.

The government on Monday said the opposition had demanded four key things: the resignation of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan; fresh elections; for the polls to be conducted by the Election Commission of Pakistan, and without military oversight to avoid any allegations of rigging; and the implementation of the Constitution in letter and spirit. It is presently unclear if Khan’s willingness to agree the demands includes the call for new polls, which would force his removal from office, as he has made it clear he will not resign.

According to local media, P.M. Khan also thanked the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid for its help in trying to secure an end to the Azadi March during meetings with Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday night.

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