Govt negotiating with protesters, reports of operation are baseless: Fawad

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Govt trying to persuade opposition parties for extension to military courts: Fawad

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday rubbished reports circulating on social media of any operation by the government against the demonstrators, and said that negotiations were ongoing between the government and the protesters.
“The situation across the country is under control. Negotiations are ongoing with the protesters. The government is a guarantor of the people’s lives and freedom. Reports of any operation against the demonstrators are false,” Fawad Chaudhry tweeted in Urdu.
“The government does not wish to resort to use of [force]. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri will continue to hold talks with the leadership of the demonstrators,” the minister shared.
His comments came as protests by religious parties continued countrywide for a third day against the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations.
In a Twitter post late Thursday night, Fawad Chaudhry had stressed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government did not wish to resort to use of force against the protesters but would not allow the writ of the state to be challenged.
“The law and order situation in the country is under control. The state’s patience must not be mistaken for weakness,” he had said.
“Upholding the Constitution and the rule of law completely is in the best public interest and we [the government] will fulfill this duty.
“The Prime Minister is being briefed about the situation by the minute. Any attempt to sabotage the important visit to China will fail,” the minister had warned.
Earlier, speaking of the ongoing protests across the country, Chaudhry had said the entire country was “united on this matter”.
“We have decided that we will proceed with a strategy on this, and the opposition has ensured us of their complete cooperation.
“InshAllah, whatever strategy is formulated, we will proceed with it with the help of the opposition,” Chaudhry had said during a news conference on Thursday, sitting alongside federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday formed a committee to hold talks to end the ongoing protests across the country.
The premier chaired an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet during which he reviewed the current security situation and accorded approval for holding talks with the protesters.

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