ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said on Thursday that a message has been sent through mutual acquaintances to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has announced an Azadi March set to begin on Oct 27.
Khattak was recently tasked by Prime Minister Imran Khan to head a four-member committee to approach the opposition and JUI-F on the issue of march. This is the first contact between the two sides.
The senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader said that the purpose of the message was to gauge the agenda of the other side and negotiate over it.
In the same vein, Khattak said that the demand of the PM’s resignation is ‘laughable’, and no talks will be held on it.
The PTI leader said that the government is not in favour of use of force.
Meanwhile, the JUI-F chief has rejected the government’s peace overture.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Maulana Fazl outright rejected any possibility of talks with the government “before a resignation is handed in”.
“We have no knowledge of such a committee and neither have we been contacted,” he said.
“Before any talks take place, a resignation is mandatory, so that the situation post-resignation can be debated,” said the JUI-F chief. “No negotiation can take place on the condition of a resignation.”
“If any state institution tries to create hurdles in the people’s way then it would be assumed that the institution is not being used for the state but for someone else,” he added.
The JUI-F chief also warned against the imposition of martial law in the country.
“Let me be very clear. If an institution tries to impose martial law, we will turn the direction of the ‘Azadi march’ towards it,” he said, insisting that he did not want a clash with any state institution.