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Imran for closed-door meeting with military

Updated July 19, 2013

ISLAMABAD, July 18: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has again called for a closed-door meeting with the military leadership before an APC (all parties conference) on national security.

Mr Khan who is in London issued a press release on Thursday, reiterating his earlier stance that a conference would be a futile exercise if it was held before fully knowing the underlying facts about the country’s involvement in the ongoing war on terror.

“I realise that perhaps the facts cannot be stated in a large open forum like an APC because of national security but, at the same time, it is essential for political leaders to be apprised of these facts regarding the extent of the commitments given to the US as well as the reasons behind the continuing sectarian terrorism in the country,” Mr Khan said.

The PTI chief said that about two months ago when he was in hospital he had asked for a meeting attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, General Kayani and himself. The purpose was to know the truth about; one, the government’s (including the military) prevailing understanding with the US on its war on terror and drone attacks; and, two, the position of intelligence and security organisations on sectarian terrorism.

Mr Khan, who will be returning to the country towards the end of this month, said a number of APCs had been held, including those organised by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and the Awami National Party, but the Taliban had responded by saying that dialogue would be worthwhile only if the military was on the same page.

He said if the military and political leaderships did not hold the same view on the issue of national security no conference could resolve the issue of terrorism.

Referring to the government’s understanding with the US on the war on terror and drone attacks, he said it was imperative for the government to inform political leaders about the nature of the understanding.

He called upon the government to clarify if the recently approved IMF package was linked to the government’s support for the war on terror.

Mr Khan said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was worst affected by terrorism and since his party headed the provincial government it wanted the federal government to clarify its position on the issue of terrorism.

Without holding a dialogue between all stakeholders on the basis of truth the issue of terrorism could not be resolved, he said.

He criticised the previous government and said it had kept the nation in dark over its understanding with the US on the war on terror and drone attacks. All the resolutions adopted by the parliament on the issues proved useless because they were discarded soon after these had been adopted.

He said that for a long period successive governments had been lying to the nation on the issue and never took political leaders into confidence. There were many hidden truths about the country’s engagement with the US and the nation needed to be informed about them, Mr Khan added.