ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has called for ceasefire by the government and Taliban militants along with immediate formation of delegations to kick-off talks.
As a goodwill gesture and to start negotiations on a positive note, he suggested, the two sides should immediately declare ceasefire. “This is what happens elsewhere when warring factions engage in dialogue,” he argued while talking to reporters outside the parliament house on Monday.
“Once the two parties sit across the table they can put forward their terms and conditions and the process of give and take follows automatically,” he said. Talks cannot begin if the two parties start setting preconditions.
However, he quickened to add that the government should have only one condition for talks that “the process should be within the constitution”.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has demanded withdrawal of army from Fata and release of its prisoners as conditions for talks with the government following the Sept 9 all-party conference which recommend unconditional negotiations with the militants.
After the killing of two senior army officers by the TTP in Dir on Sunday and the army chief’s stern statement against the perpetrators, many believe it is a significant demand made by the PTI leader.
Surprisingly, nobody from the government spoke on the subject, neither inside the National Assembly nor outside.
Imran Khan condemned the TTP for killing the army officers at a time when all political parties had expressed their willingness for talks with them and urged the government to move ahead. “What is the objective behind such an attack,” he asked the militant outfit. “This is simply reprehensible.”
The killing of Maj Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi and Lt Col Tauseef had severely affected the prospects for talks, he said, warning that the incident would have serious repercussions.
Having fought each other over the past nine years, the TTP and Islamabad would not find it easy to engage in talks, he said, but added that the only way forward was negotiation.
“We can’t think of progress and investment coming to the country under prevailing conditions and that’s what our enemies will always want and support,” he said.
Dispelling the impression that the PTI was unmoved by the death of two army officers and that he was interested only in talks, the PTI chief said he was as sad as any other Pakistani and would always speak highly of the sacrifices law enforcement agencies had offered over the years.