Talks possible if Imran Khan apologizes to nation for May 9 carnage: Pakistani Minister Ishaq Dar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar hinted that negotiations with former Prime Minister Imran Khan to end the political crisis were possible if he took ‘corrective action’ and apologized to the nation for the May 9 violence where sensitive military installations have been attacked.
Dar made the claim during a Geo News broadcast on Sunday, the day Pakistan’s ruling coalition rejected Khan’s offer of dialogue, saying talks had been held with politicians, not terrorists.
Khan, the chairman of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has assembled a seven-member team to hold talks with the government – to develop consensus on a date for the general election – amid a massive crackdown on his party for May 9 violence after his arrest.
The crackdown launched after the violent May 9 protests plunged the PTI into a deep existential crisis with dozens of key party leaders leaving the party daily.
Prominent leaders who left the party include general secretary Asad Umar, senior leader Fawad Chaudhry and former minister Shireen Mazari.
“If he (Khan) takes corrective action and apologizes to the nation for the May 9 carnagenegotiations could take place,” Dar said.
Dar noted that prior to that fateful day (May 9), the government had negotiated with the PTI with “sincere intentions” and that both sides were in agreement on all issues except the election date.
The minister said peaceful protest was everyone’s right, but that attacks on armed forces installations should not be tolerated.
On May 9, violent protests erupted after paramilitary Rangers arrested 70-year-old Khan at the premises of the Islamabad High Court in connection with a corruption case.
Members of his party vandalized a dozen military installations, including the corps commander’s house in Lahore, Mianwali air base and the ISI building in Faisalabad in response to Khan’s arrest.
The crowd also stormed the Army Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.
Thousands of Khan’s supporters have been arrested following the violence that the mighty military has called a “black day” in the country’s history.
Ambiguities in federal government policy were highlighted, with Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique saying there was no way to hold talks with Khan in the current situation.
“There was an environment and a program to hold talks on any issue. But the existing atmosphere is not conducive to talks,” the Dawn newspaper quoted him as saying.
Earlier this month, the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament, passed a resolution pledging to try the May 9 rioters under existing laws, including the strict Army Law and the Official Secrets Act.
Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he said was part of a plot led by the United States targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia. , China and Afghanistan.


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