23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: The government has decided to convene a multi-party conference to try to evolve consensus on a counter-terrorism strategy.

The conference to be held on Monday will discuss contours of the draft counter-terrorism strategy and seek views of political leaders on whether to go for dialogue or use state’s power to curb terrorism, an official told Dawn.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is reported to have contacted Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah, PTI chairman Imran Khan, MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, JI Amir Munawar Hasan and leaders of other parties.

It is learnt that Imran Khan who had earlier decided to boycott such a conference has agreed to attend it.

The conference was originally scheduled for July 12, but it was delayed because the government needed time to improve the draft of its counter-terrorism strategy.

The interior minister told newsmen last month that the government preferred dialogue but it would not shy away from an “all out war” against militants if the political leadership agreed on it.

In what was seen as the government’s first unambiguous statement about the growing security threat, the minister said: “We will leave it to the political parties to decide whether we should hold talks with militants, use force against them or adopt a mix of tact and might.”

The “war against terror” was thrust upon the nation by a dictator, but saving Pakistan from death and destruction had now become “our war”, he said, adding that a strategy against militants would be thrashed out at a multi-party conference and the consensus developed at the MPC would be implemented in letter and spirit.

Chaudhry Nisar said a policy on the issue of drone attacks would also be shaped up. The military leadership would give a briefing to the political leadership.

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