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Pakistan's ruling coalition of PML-N, PPP invites Imran Khan's party for 'meaningful' talks

Pakistan's ruling coalition of PML-N, PPP invites Imran Khan's party for 'meaningful' talks


The ruling coalition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has called on jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to abandon its protests and to engage in “meaningful” dialogue with the government, media reported Monday.

Senate President Yousuf Raza Gilani and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal stressed the government's openness to negotiations, but stressed that Khan's beleaguered party must decide with whom it wants to negotiate, the newspaper reported The Express Tribune.

Gilani, speaking to the media in Lahore, reiterated the government's willingness to negotiate. However, the former prime minister said Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) “seems determined to negotiate with someone else”. The 71-year-old veteran PPP politician said Imran Khan's party wanted to chart its course by taking on the establishment and the government in court.

“(Our) doors are open for meaningful negotiations but the PTI will have to decide with whom it wants to negotiate,” Gilani said.

Pakistan's acting president said the country is currently suffering from instability and hence all political leaders need to be on the same page. Gilani said that during their tenure in opposition under the PTI-led government, they were willing to engage in political negotiations, despite the PTI's reluctance to do so, he said according to the newspaper. Responding to another question, Gilani stressed that the PPP remains committed to supporting the current government.

“The PPP has never indicated that it is not part of the government; we are aligned with the government in all areas,” Gilani said.

The former prime minister said intra-party consultations were underway regarding the Central and Punjab cabinet membership.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the government's doors are open to all parties for useful and meaningful negotiations.

Iqbal said PTI was the ruling party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and it should serve the people there.

“I advise PTI leaders to avoid the streets (protests) and enter the (parliamentary) houses to play a positive role as opposition,” he added.

The minister criticized the PTI, saying the party wanted to resort to courts after being defeated in politics.

“The PTI wants to make its way by fighting the establishment and the government in court,” he said.

He said there was uncertainty in the country due to a court ruling. “Our doors are open to all parties for useful and meaningful negotiations, but useful and meaningful negotiations can only take place when the parties negotiate with a positive agenda,” he added.

Iqbal said the nation could never forgive the events of May 9, when Khan's supporters went on an unprecedented rampage, attacking key military installations for the first time. He expressed hope that the next five years would save the economy from political confrontation. He stressed that there should no longer be a game of rallies but rather “we should compete for public service”.

Recently, Pakistan's Punjab government approved the registration of new cases against imprisoned former Prime Minister Khan and his party members for inciting hatred against state institutions, particularly against the powerful Pakistani army.

The 71-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician has been in prison since August last year after being convicted in some of the nearly 200 cases handed down against him since his ouster in April 2022.




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