Willing to talk with PTI in ‘larger national interest’: PM

— PM announces 20,000 internships for engineers, 75 scholarships for top universities

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said he was willing to talk with political rival PTI for the “sake of national interest”.

The statement comes amid speculations of backchannel talks going on between the PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the establishment and the federal government. However, there is no confirmation yet from any side.

Addressing the launch ceremony of “Youth Development Initiatives” here, the prime minister said: “You didn’t shake [my] hand for four years and now you’re saying to ‘come to talk with us’? Till when will this two-facedness continue? But, we will be ready for it for the sake of national interest”.

Declining to give any details, the prime minister said he was ready to give “any sacrifice” for keeping the national interest as the primary concern.

Since his ouster, former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan has at various points expressed willingness to hold a dialogue with the incumbent government if it was ready to hold fresh elections.

It has already been reported in the media that President Arif Alvi was making backchannel efforts to defuse the current political tension.

PM Shehbaz Sharif Thursday announced initiatives of providing 20,000 internships to young engineers and 75 scholarships to students for studies in the top universities of the world.

The Ministry of Planning and Development will carry out the youth initiatives, which also include spending of Rs 40 billion in 20 most underdeveloped districts and building of 250 mini sports complexes.

Addressing the launching ceremony, the prime minister said the programme would be expanded further and more initiatives would be launched for the youth, who were a considerable part of the population.

Referring to his initiatives as Punjab chief minister, he said the government of Pakistan Muslim League(N) under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif had undertaken different programmes for providing high quality education, scholarships and laptops to millions of students.


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