Chief of the Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan.—File Photo

PESHAWAR: Chief of the Awami National Party (ANP), Asfandyar Wali Khan on Tuesday urged the nation to stand united against the menace of terrorism and militancy and adopt a zero tolerance towards all violations of the country’s sovereignty and integrity.

Addressing a press conference after chairing the ANP’s Consultative Committee meeting here, the ANP Chief reiterated the party’s stated position that extremism and terrorist violence were a threat to the very existence of the country and appealed to all political forces to take a clear stand on this issue.

He said ANP was fighting war against terrorism for existence of the country and all political parties should also take a clear stance on terrorism.

“If the experience of the recent past is anything to go by, the terrorists will not forgive any political or religious parties, even those, who have literally acted as their supporters or apologists and it will be an exercise in futility to appease the terrorists,” he remarked.

“We support negotiations with all those elements that recognize the writ of the state and renounce violence,” he said, adding those who are not preparing to do it should face effective and meaningful actions.

He said political ownership was must for a successful operation as we have seen in Swat and Dir. He said we are fighting against an extremist mindset bent on destabilising Pakistan.

Asfandyar said people of all segments of the society should express zero tolerance towards all violations of the country’s sovereignty and integrity. He said ANP opposed drone strikes and raised strong voices against it at every forum. However, he said ANP also opposed terrorists’ individual attacks on our soil and their networks whether it is within the country or outside.

He regretted that drone attacks were being condemned in socio-political circles openly but individuals terrorists strikes on ground were not being deplored as openly. Khan said that instead of defending ourselves on our doorsteps or in the streets, we should go after the terrorists’ sanctuaries and evolve a national consensus on a comprehensive strategy for defeating terrorist outfits.

He said Pakhtuns in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were adversely affected by the menace of terrorism and the time has come to stand united and evolve a national consensus to get rid of this menace once and for all.

Khan appealed to all ANP workers and sympathizers to be patient and not to get provoked by the provocations of the anti state elements who want to ignite civil war.

The meeting authorized the ANP chief to contact coalition partners, all political parties and all the state institutions to share the ANP’s concerns and prepare a decisive line of action.

The committee also paid tributes to Bashir Ahmad Bilour and others killed in the Peshawar suicide attack. Khan said that the ANP was proud of all its martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for defending the country and the province.

The blood of Bashir Bilour will not go in vain and will go a long way in ridding the country from the scourge of extremism and terrorism, he said.

Khan said the ANP will continue non violent struggle against extremism and terrorism.

Bilour’s son made advisor to KP CM

Khan added that the committee had urged the Chief Minister Khyber Pakthunkhwa to appoint Haroon Bilour, the elder son of slain Bashir Bilour, as Special Advisor to Chief Minister on Local Government and Rural Development.

To a question, he said ANP would fully participate in the general election and will strongly oppose delay of polls. He said the people were the best judge to make politicians accountable through power of the ballot.

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