Talking to media outside the Parliament House, the minister said the government would not file appeals against Lahore High Court verdict in connection to Model Town incident.
He said parliament and government made intense efforts to mend fences with the protesting leaders, but to no avail.
“We requested the Imran Khan-led PTI to call off their protest and sit on the table for talks. But Mr. Imran was persistent in taking out long march. Despite all his hard statements, the government allowed him to proceed with his march plan,” he said.
Rafique said Imran reneged on his promise and marched on to the red zone. He said the PTI chief used non-parliamentary language on pretext of sit-ins and protests. “We responded to him politically but did not enter into personal confrontation.”
He said the government accepted five of the six demands of Imran. He asked how an elected prime minister could be sent packing without any evidence of rigging against him.
He requested the Imran Khan to “please let marchers go their home and let the government and institutions work properly.”
The minister said Imran was hell bent on prime minister’s resignation – be it for three days even.
Come Dr. Tahirul Qadri, Rafique said the government had direct talks with him in the recent days. We asked Dr. Qadri his reforms package, but he did not give us one, claimed the minister.
He added that the government would act on all legal demands, but not the unconstitutional ones.
We tried our best to meet the legal demands of the protesters. He said names of ministers were nominated in the Model Town incident FIR as the leaders were active in defending the government in media.
He asked how government could accept the demands of Dr. Qadri and Imran which were illegal.
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif was also present on the occasion. He said protesters have threatened for bloodshed in the country. They want to do politics on mayhem.
“We did not let anyone to create anarchy and chaos.” He said the protesters would try to create disorder, adding the government would demonstrate patience and not let anyone to resort to violence.
Government’s cooperation should not be misconstrued as its helplessness, said Asif.