Qureshi rejects opposition’s deadline for PM’s resignation

Foreign Minister

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has categorically rejected the demands of the alliance of opposition parties, saying these are undemocratic and unconstitutional.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, the foreign minister said the opposition deadline calling on the prime minister to resign and dissolve assemblies by January 31 stands rejected.

“We are categorically stating that the prime minister will not stand down. Assemblies will not be dissolved! The country cannot function on your whims,” said the foreign minister.

He emphatically stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan will not step down and that the assemblies will not be dissolved. He said the present government enjoys the mandate of the people and secured millions of votes in the 2018 general elections.

The PTI leader regretted that the opposition parties are giving priority to their personal interests over the national interests. He however said we are ready for talks on electoral reforms, issues of inflation, provincial autonomy and the NFC.

He asked the opposition for the undemocratic, unconstitutional demand when they claim to be running a movement founded on democratic values. “Let’s assume that there is an election, and you get the mandate. Why would the PTI then accept your mandate? Where will this political instability then lead us?” the PTI leader asked.

READ MORE: ‘Resign or face long march’: PDM gives Centre Jan 31 ultimatum

Referring to the stance of opposition parties on dialogue, Qureshi reminded that doors of negotiations in politics are never shut. He said the posture of the opposition parties may damage the democracy.

He said the alliance of opposition parties has failed to mobilise public support and people showed their indifference to the Lahore gathering which was a meaningless activity as it carried no new announcement.

Qureshi said there is no consensus amongst the PDM over the issue of resignations from the assemblies and the long march. He said the PPP’s policy is ambiguous as the decisions of the party are being taken not by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari but former President Asif Ali Zardari.

He said the PML (N) is also divided on the issue of resignations as there is a clear difference between the factions of Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. The minister observed that the opposition would dismantle democracy through these kinds of demands and attitude rather than strengthening it.

The PDM had held a public gathering at the Minar-e-Pakistan and signed the ‘Lahore Declaration’ calling on the prime minister to resign or else they will stage a long march to Islamabad.

PDM President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that all lawmakers from the opposition parties would submit their resignations from their assembly seats to their respective party leadership by December 31.