ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Thursday denied “brokering” a deal with sparing political factions, in a veiled reference to ex-PM Imran Khan and top military officials, saying he had always tried to “bring people closer” in his own capacity, state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.
Widespread reports in local media have recently said the president had arranged a meeting between Khan and top army officials, including army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Neither has confirmed the meeting.
In an interview last week, Khan responded to the reports of the meeting by saying he “did not want to lie and cannot tell the truth.”
“I am not a broker. I only make efforts to bring people closer,” Alvi was quoted as saying by the APP during an interactive session with journalists at the Presidential Palace.
When asked whether he had played a role in mending fences between top government officials and Khan, Alvi said: “Even in conflict within a family, people contribute on their part to sort things out. This is never an easy job.”
Separately, in an address to a joint sitting of the parliament today, Thursday, Alvi called upon political parties in Pakistan to end “polarization” in the country and set a date for fresh general elections in the country.
“This is the year of election and if there is polarization, we must resolve it,” he said. “We have an entire year. If the difference [over election date] pertains to only a few months, then after talking to each other and satisfying one another, you can decide a date for elections,” the president added.
Reiterating his stance, Alvi urged parliament to end polarization “for God’s sake.”
“Without letting go of rigidity, polarization can never come to an end,” he added.
Ousted in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April, former PM Khan has accused Washington of backing a campaign to oust him from office and blamed the incumbent government for being part of the “foreign conspiracy.” He has demanded early elections in Pakistan.
Washington and PM Sharif have both denied the allegations. Khan has threatened to launch a long march to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, and force the government to announce an early date for general elections.
Sharif has rejected Khan’s demands and vowed elections will be held as per schedule next year. His government has warned Khan against marching to the capital, threatening to take stern action against him and his supporters.