Azadi March: Imran meets government negotiating team

Fazlur Rehman addressing a rally. Photo: IANS

Islamabad (IANS): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday met the government negotiating team led by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to discuss the next course of action regarding the JUI-F’s ‘Azadi March’.

The meeting comes ahead of the second round of talks between the government’s team and the Rehbar Committee which comprises representatives of the opposition parties, Geo News reported.

Khattak and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi briefed the premier over their talks with the Rehbar Committee, reports The Express Tribune.

Elahi also updated Khan on his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who spearheaded the March to topple the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

On Monday, two different negotiating teams of the government reached out to the JUI-F to break an impasse in the wake of the ‘Azadi March’.

The first delegation, led by Khattak, met the Rehbar Committee at Rehman’s residence in Islamabad.

In the meeting, the Rehbar Committee presented the opposition’s four demands, including Khan’s resignation and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the military, while the government demanded the committee to end the sit-in.

But neither side signalled signs of conceding any ground.

Hours after the meeting, the second government delegation, led by former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, also met the JUI-F chief to discuss their demands.

According to officials, at least 2 to 2.5 million people were attending the anti-government sit-in since the March reached Islamabad on October 31.

The meeting comes ahead of the second round of talks between the government’s team and the Rehbar Committee which comprises representatives of the opposition parties, Geo News reported.

Khattak and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi briefed the premier over their talks with the Rehbar Committee, reports The Express Tribune.

Elahi also updated Khan on his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who spearheaded the March to topple the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

On Monday, two different negotiating teams of the government reached out to the JUI-F to break an impasse in the wake of the ‘Azadi March’.

The first delegation, led by Khattak, met the Rehbar Committee at Rehman’s residence in Islamabad.

In the meeting, the Rehbar Committee presented the opposition’s four demands, including Khan’s resignation and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the military, while the government demanded the committee to end the sit-in.

But neither side signalled signs of conceding any ground.

Hours after the meeting, the second government delegation, led by former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, also met the JUI-F chief to discuss their demands.

According to officials, at least 2 to 2.5 million people were attending the anti-government sit-in since the March reached Islamabad on October 31.

Imran Khan. (File Photo: IANS)

IMRAN Khan on Monday had ruled out any compromise in corruption cases saying it would be equivalent to treachery with the country and refused any concession under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to the opposition-led Azadi March protesters.

He said this while chairing a meeting of his party’s MPs and allies.

The NRO, issued by then President Pervez Musharraf on October 5, 2007, was aimed at forgiving politicians and political activists accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering and murder.

But it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on December 16, 2009.

According to official sources, Khan said his patience should not be considered as weakness. “No unconstitutional action by the opposition will be tolerated,” Khan said.

Rejecting the opposition’s demand for his resignation, Khan said they wanted to create instability and were looking at ways out of corruption cases.

The country would continue on the path of progress, he added.

The parliamentary party passed a resolution expressing support for the Prime Minister and said the opposition could not be allowed to blackmail the ruling coalition. It vowed to strengthen Parliament and condemned unconstitutional and illegal acts of the opposition.

Meanwhile, thousands of activists led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman continued to protest here demanding resignation of the Prime Minister. Their Azadi March is being supported by the opposition.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
(Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal/IANS)

MEANWHILE, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto on Tuesday alleged that his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari, was denied access to specialist doctors and personal physician.

“Our family is concerned about his health. If anything happens to our father, the government will be held responsible,” he tweeted.

Zardari was admitted to the VIP ward of the cardiology department of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on October 22. He was declared out of danger after several tests, according to a report in the Pakistani media.

The former President had complained of backache, weakness and anxiety, while being lodged in Adiala jail of Rawalpindi.

On Monday, Zardari was put on Holter monitor by PIMS medical board to check variations in his heartbeat. “The device has been put on because of continuous variations in the patient’s heartbeat,” PIMS media coordinator Waseem Khawaja told Dawn.

The patient would stay at the hospital till his condition became normal, he added.

A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that records the heart’s activity for 24-48 hours, or longer, depending on the requirement.

According to him, a patient is put on the device when he/she complains of dizziness, which could be because of low heartbeat. “Zardari is sick. He is diabetic, has arthritis and has received stents,” he said. Zardari had all these medical issues when he was the President as well, he said.

PPP leader Rehman Malik, a day earlier, sought relief for Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on the pattern of legal remedy provided to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam.

“Zardari and Faryal Talpur are high-profile undertrials. They must not be treated like convicted persons,” he remarked.

Zardari was arrested by the National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) on June 10 after cancellation of his anticipatory bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case.

NAB Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana had told the court the watchdog was investigating billions of rupees transactions through 28 bank accounts for which the investigation team required custody of the accused persons.






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