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Talks between Pak govt & oppn leaders fail to break deadlock

Talks between Pak govt & oppn leaders fail to break deadlock

Islamabad: The second round of talks between the Pakistan government and opposition leaders failed to break the ongoing deadlock between the two sides on Tuesday even as Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was ready to accept all "valid" demands

of the 'Azadi March' protesters, led by a firebrand cleric-cum-politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Prime minister Khan reportedly made the remarks in a meeting with Defence Minister Pervez Khattak-led team tasked to negotiate with the opposition parties taking part in the massive march comprising thousands of protesters in Islamabad.

"The government is ready to accept all valid demands except the demand for resignation," Khan was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Defence Minister Khattak said the government is trying to find a middle ground with the opposition to break the ongoing deadlock.

"The talks between the two sides were held in a good atmosphere," he said.

However, both the sides stuck to their respective positions, Khattak told a news conference after the second round of direct talks with opposition's Rehbar Committee.

Last night, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government sent a second delegation to Rehman's residence to break the impasse in the

wake of the Opposition's bid to oust Khan.

The right-wing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader is leading the massive protest, which entered the fifth day on Tuesday. Dubbed as 'Azadi March', the protestors demand Khan's resignation, accusing him of "rigging" the 2018 general elections.

The Opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People Party (PPP), have also thrown their weight behind the anti-government rally.

A delegation led by former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain met the cleric on Monday night, hours after the government's negotiating team led by Defence Minister Khattak held talks with the Rehbar Committee headed by JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani and discussed their demands, the report said.

In its list of demands, the Rehbar Committee sought the premier's resignation and fresh elections in the country without the supervision of the armed forces. The government, on the other hand, has demanded that the committee end the sit-in.

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