LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq on Friday said that the government is ready for talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and the chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Tahirul Qadri.
Addressing at the celebrations of “Jashn-e-Azadi” at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique said the government is ready for talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri to find solution to issues. He said that the government would continue persuading Imran Khan until the night of August 13 for talks instead of launching a march towards Islamabad.
Saad said Imran Khan should come to the negotiating table, as political issues cannot be resolved on the streets or through sit-ins. He expressed his surprise that Imran Khan was an ardent advocate of talks with the Taliban but unwilling to enter into dialogue with the government. He said that the progress and stability of the country demands halting “long march” and “revolution”. He said the government will take on board other political parties on the issue of long march of Imran Khan.
Saad Rafique said Pakistan is passing through difficult times and time demands unity amongst different segments of society to pull the country out of all these challenges. He said it is surprising that Imran Khan favours talks with the Taliban but is not ready to hold the same with the government. The railways minister warned that anybody taking law into his own hand on August 14 would himself bear the consequences.
Meanwhile, advising party workers to finalise their arrangements for the August 14 “Azadi March”, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has called upon its followers to take part in the protest “at any cost”. “We have advised all our workers and supporters to breach any obstacles laid out before them and reach D-Chowk on August 14 at any cost,” Imran said in statement on Friday. Meanwhile, a PTI panel met to review arrangements for the Azadi March.
According to PTI’s plans, Imran Khan will lead a protest rally from Lahore to Islamabad, where it will meet up with rallies originating from other provinces. Imran will lead the main rally from Lahore, and PTI MNAs and MPAs will take out rallies from their respective constituencies, PTI sources said. PTI has urged the PML-N government to refrain from using the army “like it has used the Punjab police, for its vested interests.”
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