Pak PM Sharif offers dialogue to Imran Khan ahead of protest rally

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that his government is ready to address the concerns of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan about alleged rigging in last year`s general election.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 10, 2014, 01:16 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that his government is ready to address the concerns of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan about alleged rigging in last year`s general election.
Addressing the National Security Conference here, Sharif said all political forces need to stand together to foil the internal and external conspiracies against the country.

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"I have been told that he (Imran) is ready to call off protest if recounting is done in 10 constituencies and I have responded positively to it," he said.

His remarks came just days ahead of a protest rally by Khan`s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in Islamabad on August 14 against alleged electoral fraud in the 2013 polls.

Sharif said there was no justification for an `Azadi March` of Imran Khan only one year after his government got power and when Pakistan was facing several challenges on all fronts.

He said no conspiracies could be allowed at this stage.

Sharif said it was time to leave behind the negative politics of the past and join hands for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

He said he also expected that the opposition would act positively at a time, when the country was passing through a critical juncture with the military`s ongoing operation in North Waziristan to eliminate terrorists.

Sharif said after year-long efforts, a turnaround in the economy was being witnessed, saying the country`s economic ratings have improved.

He said China has approved, with loans, 14 power projects for immediate execution in Pakistan that would generate 10,400 MW of electricity.

But Khan has refused to cancel his protest rally and said now things will be decided on the streets of Islamabad.

"For the last 14 months I was demanding recount on some seats but he (Sharif) refused to listen. Now the protest will go ahead according to the plan," he said.

Khan has said the `Azadi March` will be the biggest protest rally in the country`s history.