Nawaz forms 4-member committee for peace talks with Tatliban terrorists
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that he has made a four-member committee for negotiations with the terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The members of the committee are veteran journalists Irfan Siddiqui and Rahimullah Yusufzai‚ former ambassador Rustam Shah Mehmand and former ISI official Major (retired) Amir.
The premier added that terrorism and peace talks cannot happen at the same time, further stating that instances of violence will not be tolerated any more.
Nawaz also said that Islam is a religion of peace and it does not condone terrorism.
He expressed sorrow over the lives lost in terror attacks, stating that he can only empathise with the victims’ families.
With a thinly-veiled reference to General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the prime minister also remarked that one dictator has turned Pakistan into a centre of terrorism.
After hearing about the formation of the committee, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated that the formation of the committee was not discussed with him and his party.
The announcement came the same day Taliban militants targeted paramilitary soldiers, killing at least three Rangers personnel in separate bomb attacks in Karachi.
The dead included three paramilitary Rangers and a private security guard, while four others were wounded.
Speaking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed location via telephone, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the attacks.
On January 27, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentarians had voted in majority for an operation against the Taliban as opposed to peace talks. The parliamentarians had met in Islamabad to discuss the law-and-order situation in the country.
Earlier on January 23, the government had decided in principle to launch a military operationagainst anti-state groups. It had been announced that and the prime minister would make a statement about an operation in the next session of parliament. The decision was taken during a high-level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on internal security following a wave of deadly bombings in the country.
At the meeting, the government was informed by the country’s military leadership that “a full-fledged operation in the tribal areas” is required to curb sectarian violence and terrorism, officials had told The Express Tribune.
Later, The Taliban, while reiterating their offer for peace talks, had asked the government to come up with a “clear stance if it is sincere in pursuing dialogue”.
The premier said his government was doing all it could to stop US drone strikes on its soil. However, he said that at the same time there was no justification for continuing the acts of terror in reaction to the drone strikes.
“Are the innocent children who fall prey to acts of terrorism, or the innocent civilians who die in such attacks, responsible for conducting the drone strikes?” he remarked. “Murder of innocent people cannot be tolerated anymore.”
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