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No Need for Talks if Resignation Sole Demand: Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Pakistan’s prime minister hits back at Azadi March protesters over their refusal to leave Islamabad without his ouster

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that there was no need for negotiations with the opposition to end the Azadi March sit-in if his resignation remained the key demand.

According to local media, the cricketer-turned-politician met with government representatives negotiating an end to the sit-in, including Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and the government team led by Defense Minister Pervez Khattak.

Elahi informed the prime minister about his personal meetings with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and asked him for advice on how to proceed further. Similarly, the government’s negotiating team separately told him about the demands forwarded by the opposition’s Rehbar Committee.

“There’s a lot of talk about my resignation,” private broadcaster Geo News quoted the prime minister as saying. “If that is the only demand of the opposition, then there is no need for further negotiations.”

Elahi is set to meet Fazlur Rehman once more today, and both daily Dawn and Geo have reported that the P.M. has directed the Pakistan Muslim League (PMLQ) leader to convey a message to the JUIF chief.

A day earlier, the JUIF chief also thundered to the supporters camped out in the federal capital that there was no more need for talks if the government was not willing to discuss the premier’s resignation. The deadlock between the two sides does not yet show any sign of abating.

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