PESHAWAR: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hassan has said that government should take the offer of peace talks by Taliban seriously and hold meaningful dialogue with the militants.

Addressing an ‘Eid Milan’ party at Nishtar Hall here on Monday, he urged the government to take all stakeholders into confidence before holding negotiations with the Taliban, who renewed their offer for peace talks with the government recently.

“The government and Taliban should come with open mind for talks to restore lasting peace in the country,” the JI leader said. A large number of JI workers attended the function, which was organised in connection with Eidul Fitr.

Mr Hassan blamed some secular forces for creating hurdles in negotiations with Taliban in tribal areas. “These forces should understand that if government can hold talks with hijackers then why not with Taliban,” he said.

The JI leader said that government should take all stakeholders and political forces on board for the upcoming All Parties Conference (APC). He was of the view that APC should not be only a formality and the government should circulate its agenda among the stakeholders before the conference.

Mr Hassan said that government had yet to respond to the Taliban’s offer. The reason, he said, was that the government might have been waiting for green signal from the US government. He said that America was trying to hold talks with Afghan Taliban in Doha (Qatar) while it opposed negotiations between Pakistan and local Taliban.

Mr Hassan also asked Taliban to explain their position before holding formal talks with the government. He said that coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not have the mandate to negotiate with Taliban. Only central government could do it, he added. However, provincial government should cooperate with the centre, he said.

About tension on the eastern border, the JI chief said that federal government was trying to boost ties with India while Indian troops had started aggression along the Line of Control.

He said that India had constructed dams to block flow of water towards Pakistan while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was planning to import electricity from India.

Mr Hassan said that federal government was getting dictations from International Monetary Fund to increase general sales tax and electricity charges.

He said that the United States had manipulated election results in the favour of Nawaz Sharif. However, he reminded to Nawaz Sharid that it would become obvious to the people very soon that US was behind him.

The Eid Milan party was also addressed by Gul Badshah, a joint candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and JI for NA-1, Peshawar.

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