Doors are still open for talks, Kaira tells Imran

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and Adviser to Prime Minister for Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira made an offer to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to sit with the incumbent government and hold talks, saying that “the doors were still open for him if he wanted to come back.”

Kaira said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the floor of the assembly had invited Imran to hold talks.

“All of us belonging to different parties are united as one party does not have any solution to steer the country out of crises,” the PPP leader said while addressing a press conference in Lahore on Sunday.

Kaira said, “Even now the doors for dialogues are open. If he [Imran Khan] wants to take part in the grand dialogue and wants to join the charter to address the problems of the public, of course, we are ready for it by forming a committee.”

Answering a question about leaked audio involving a conversation between Malik Riaz and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari that went viral on social media, the PPP leader said, “The voices in the leaked audio match with the personalities but I can’t confirm.”

The PPP leader made it clear that the government would not allow Imran to choke or block Islamabad through the use of force, a sit-in or by using the “shoulder of any court”.

He said the PTI chairman would also not be allowed to suspend the affairs of the state.

“If he wants to come back to Islamabad, he will have to convince the government and the court,” said Kaira. He said they [all parties] were united and would continue to work per their charter.

He said the PTI chief had fixed time bombs before he departed from the power corridors which caused huge troubles.

Lashing out at the president, the former speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, and the incumbent speaker of the Punjab Assembly, he said that they staged a drama, and the country witnessed an uncertain situation. “The president acted like an opposition leader despite holding a constitutional office,” he added.

Kaira also said that the PTI government intentionally kept the fuel prices low when these were going up in the international market, and subsequently, the inflation touched the sky while the rupee continued to fall.

He also shared the strategy of the coalition government to save the local currency, saying that they would pass on some burden to the public, make some savings and curtail some imports to support it.

Talking about the amendment in NAB laws, the PPP leader said that they had already announced to make amendments in these laws and referred to some decisions of the top courts.

He said the PTI government got 31 laws passed within an hour in a joint sitting and it was the PPP which raised its voice against them and made a promise to reverse these legislations.

“Where are the electronic voting machines Imran Khan was talking about? Procurement is not possible at this time,” Kaira said, asking the former premier what he did regarding the voting system for the right to vote for overseas Pakistanis. The PM’s aide said they did not deprive expats of their right to vote; rather planned to introduce their special seats in the legislative assemblies for their representation.

“Internet voting is not reliable; we want to maintain the trust and secrecy of overseas Pakistanis,” Kaira said.

He said Imran refused to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court moments after its announcement just because he is the “king of U-turns” and urged the top court to look into it. He stated that Imran’s speeches before his long march were evidence of the fact that PTI went to the Supreme Court – but the coalition parties did not. He said the apex court took suo motu notice and it was the Supreme Court Bar Association which approached the top court. He asked if the president or the governor did anything against the law, what should be done? He also stated that the courts and the media would have asked the government if it had not stopped the PTI from the long march.

Moreover, he slammed the sentence to Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik and said that the Foreign Office had demanded the Indian government let Yasin Malik meet his wife and children. He said the entire country of Pakistan was standing by the Kashmiri people, especially the PPP.

Fida Hussnain is a correspondent covering judiciary, politics, business and health issues. He is also a feature writer and researcher with major work on freedom of press in Pakistan. He tweets @fidahassanain and can be reached at