Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday said the government will not negotiate with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan until he “accepts defeat” and corrects his language and behaviour.
Aurangzeb’s remarks came after Imran, in a press conference earlier in the day, said he was open to “every kind of negotiation” if it led to fair and transparent elections.
The information minister, in her press conference in Islamabad, was asked why the government had a problem accepting Imran’s offer. To this, she replied: “Let him (Imran) admit defeat first at least. He accepts defeat and changes his behaviour and his language then he will see we won’t disappoint him.” Aurangzeb said the PTI chairman would have to seek forgiveness and answer for his “language, behaviour and the injustice done with the people of Pakistan for four years”.
“We can’t forget it and every injustice whether with the media or the people or parliamentarians or political opponents,” she added. The information minister criticised the PTI chairman for rejecting the then opposition’s calls for negotiations on the economy, Covid-19, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and national security issues when he was in power.
“You won’t be given an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance). We can’t do negotiations with you if they’re based on threats and dictation.”
Responding to the PTI chief’s claim that negotiations were not possible until a date was given in June for elections, Aurangzeb said: “I’m giving you the date of elections. Write it down: August 2023.” She went on to say that the government and its coalition allies would give date for the next elections after completing their constitutional term. “Listen with both ears. No one will accept your threats, dictation, cursing or misbehaviour. Change your behaviour. Wait for elections. Learn to wait,” she said.
She told the PTI chairman to “stay home” if he wanted a dialogue on elections. “If you set out of your house with weapons, bullets, sticks and with an announcement of a bloody march then worse will happen than what had happened before,” she warned.
The information minister called on Imran to desist from “dividing the nation and spreading instability and chaos” in the society. Aurangzeb told Imran to not initiate any organised social media campaign against police. “If there is any movement against police on social media … then you will have to suffer the consequences,” she added, further claiming that there would be “zero tolerance” against it.