The federal government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to back down against the opposition alliance despite their threats to hold a long march towards Islamabad in February. The prime minister has directed his party leaders to respond the opposition on every forum. The directions came during a meeting chaired by the prime minister and attended by Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant to PM on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Monday. The prime minister briefed party leadership and coalition partners on the government’s strategy to tackle the opposition and the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). He reiterated that the opposition will not be given any NRO no matter how hard it tries. “They are doing rallies to blackmail the government.” The PTI leadership agreed that the PDM is endangering public lives by holding gatherings amid the second wave of coronavirus. At a separate meeting of spokespersons, Imran Khan referred to the PDM’s Lahore rally as a flop show. The meeting slammed Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s statements against Punjabis, saying that he had insulted them. “If the opposition wants to resign, they can,” Imran Khan reportedly said. “I will not give in to their blackmailing. After holding rallies, they can also try their hand at the long march,” he added. Turning his guns towards PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, PM Imran Khan reportedly said that she does not have any leadership skills. “Maryam Nawaz is spewing venom against state institutions,” he said, referring to the PML-N leader’s criticism of the military leadership. Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday categorically said the government was ready to hold dialogue with the opposition on all issues except corruption cases and National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). Talking to media, the minister said opposition has feared of looted national wealth, adding, Prime Minister Imran Khan would never give NRO to them. Imran Khan has categorically said that he would quit the government but would not give NRO to the corrupt mafia who had plundered the national wealth, he said. “We don’t want to close the doors for dialogue but the opposition says it does not want to talk to Imran Khan. Tell us who you wish to speak to, so that we can arrange it, he said. Regarding the opposition gathering at Lahore, the minister said the PDM will fail in their designs to create political instability in the country. He challenged the opposition to submit their resignations and fulfill their wish of long march towards Islamabad. The resignation of opposition would be accepted, he said. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad later in the day, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said the narrative of the PML-N and of former premier Nawaz Sharif no longer “has currency”. “It cannot be sold in Punjab or Pakistan,” he said, adding that this was the reason that the PDM’s Lahore rally was a flop. “Listen to Maryam’s speech from yesterday. All she talked about was herself, her father, her uncle, her brother, [said] Imran Khan is very bad and then the speech ended,” he said, adding that there was “no agenda”. He said that those in Parliament needed to review their current strategy. “Only a fool would consider it a weakness when the government talks about dialogue. We want [political unity] and for that it is important to sit down and talk about big issues.” He added that PM Imran has called Parliament an excellent forum for talks. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Monday said that December 13 was the last day of ‘Sharif Raj’ when the fable of ‘Sharifs’ was buried in Lahore after the failed gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan. Addressing a press conference flanked by Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, he said that the people stand with the agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan to take forward the country on the path of progress and prosperity. He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was a Punjab based party. He strongly condemned Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s remarks in Lahore rally. Gill said that Punjab was the land of brave and gallant sons which received seven Nishan-e-Haider added that the people of Punjab had sacrificed everything for Pakistan. He said that one should read the history and know that father of Mahmood Khan Achakzai was in the Indian National Congress and was against Pakistan movement. He said that the daughter of Nawaz Sharif provided him a platform and he got an opportunity to speak against people of Punjab and particularly Lahoris. He asked PML-N MNAs not to support these anti-Pakistan people.