I can’t accept what’s beyond my authority: PM

Ongoing turmoil to end in few days; few thousand people can’t hold govt’s mandate hostage; resignation not possible; all constitutional demands of PTI accepted; sit-in now a ‘sea of chairs’ only.

LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the PTI and PAT leadership was asking him to accept what was beyond his authority and added that the ongoing tumultuous situation would end within a few days.

Talking to a private TV channel, he said a few thousand people picketing outside the Parliament House could not hold hostage the mandate given by millions of people to the government.

“A few thousand people have gathered in Islamabad, asking the government, with a mandate of millions of people, to wind up, dissolve the assemblies and hold fresh elections. Is this not a step against democracy?”

Nawaz visited the residence of renowned journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami to condole the death of his sister.

He said: “In a resolution, the opposition and the allied parties had committed not to tolerate any step against democracy.”

He was optimistic that this tumultuous situation would end within a few days. He said people were fed up with the sit-in, which was now only a sea of empty chairs.

He said the government had accepted all the demands of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) related to electoral reforms and also requested the Supreme Court to constitute a commission to probe the rigging allegations.

“Everything will be exposed before the public. We will respect any decision by the commission. Unfortunately, the situation has harmed the country’s development process and public prosperity. But InshaAllah it will be retrieved soon and the country will return to the path of development.”

The prime minister said the ongoing sit-ins of the PTI and PAT had affected public life and the national economy. He said the presidents of Maldives and Sri Lanka had already cancelled their visits to Pakistan.

He said the Chinese president was due in Pakistan and various power projects were being executed with Chinese cooperation, but this may also face impediments.

Nawaz said genuine demands, including democratic reforms and a commission on alleged poll rigging, had been fulfilled. “But they have been demanding my resignation, dissolution of the National Assembly and even the provincial assemblies which are not even within my purview,” he added.

He said it was strange that during his visit to Imran Khan’s residence in Bani Gala, everything had been discussed openly. He did not know why Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and other parties decided to march on Islamabad the same day.