PTI chairman Imran Khan.—Online Photo
ISLAMABAD: Worried over militant attacks on its lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI-led provincial government has decided to have a meeting with the army chief to work out a national strategy on terrorism.
At a gathering also attended by KP Chief Minister Parvez Khattak here on Sunday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said the provincial government would write to the army chief through the Prime Minister’s Office in a day or two to seek a meeting with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Mr Khan called for “all national forces” to sit together to hammer out a strategy to deal with terrorism.
Over the last three weeks the PTI has lost its two members of the KP Assembly to attacks claimed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.
“On its own, the KP can do nothing against terrorism. This is a national issue which demands a national-level response. Hence we are seeking a meeting with the prime minister and the chief of the army staff to discuss a national strategy on terrorism,” said Mr Khan at the convention of his party’s Punjab chapter. The entire leadership of the PTI and its office-bearers from 36 districts of Punjab attended the convention.
In his first public speech after his May 7 fall off a forklift during an election rally in Lahore, the PTI chairman – who still needs a month or so to become fully fit – reiterated his call for reaching a “political settlement” with the Taliban.
Referring to a statement of General Nick Carter, deputy commander of Nato-led coalition in Afghanistan, in which he said that the West should have entered into talks with the Afghan Taliban 10 years ago, Mr Khan said: “This is what I have been calling for the past nine to ten years.”
He said while a political settlement was required to end violence in Fata and other tribal areas, a different strategy was needed to control the law and order problem in Karachi and sectarian attacks.
The PTI would give its input to the federal government and the army during the proposed meeting, he said.
When contacted, a staff member of the Prime Minister’s Office said a response to the KP government’s letter would be given after it was delivered to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The federal government, he added, had already declared its intention to hammer out a national security policy and sought input from all political parties.
About the local government elections, which the PTI in its campaign had announced would be its top priority, Mr Khan said the poll process had been delayed because of his injury and reiterated that KP would soon have local governments in place. The provincial government, he added, had decided to use biometric system in the local bodies elections.
Mr Khan asked the PTI workers from Punjab to get ready for a similar exercise in their province because after installation of local governments in KP, other provincial governments would have no option but to follow suit.
He announced a raft of measures the KP government would take in coming days to improve governance. For example, he said, the provincial government would promulgate a 'right to services act’ under which if a department failed to facilitate the masses within a certain period of time, it would be fined, while on providing timely service the employees would be paid bonuses.
ELECTRICITY CRISIS: The PTI chief was hopeful that after completion of new projects in five years, KP would not only be able to meet its own electricity needs but would also supply power to other provinces.
In a few months, he said, people would know about the PTI’s plans to tap new resources to produce electricity. “We will…[be] such a model to other provincial governments…of governance that people throughout the country will vote for us in next elections,” Mr Khan announced amid cheers.
He said the party had filed a petition with the Supreme Court for a thorough investigation into the poll rigging in four constituencies for which the PTI would press after Ramazan and even launch a protest campaign if needed.
Mr Khan said the PTI had accepted election results but wanted to know how the polls (in certain constituencies) had been rigged, adding the party had enough evidence to substantiate its claim in the court.
Admitting that the PTI was not fully prepared to go into elections because of its intra-party polls which instead of the three months as planned had extended to 11 months, he said that next time “we will go into elections with complete preparation”.
Mr Khan also admitted mistakes in awarding party tickets and picking candidates for seats reserved for women and said such mistakes would not be repeated.