Efforts for talks with Taliban continue: minister

Published September 19, 2013
Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed talking to media persons at National Press Club.— Photo by Online
Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed talking to media persons at National Press Club.— Photo by Online

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Pervez Rashid, said here on Wednesday that the government would continue its efforts to achieve peace in the country as endorsed by an all-party conference.

He was talking to journalists during his visit to the National Press Club to congratulate the newly-elected office-bearers of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ).

The minister said that during the APC, all political parties had the same voice on achieving peace in the country.

The process of peace negotiations between the sides was continuing, he said, adding: “Efforts will continue and these will produce good results. Process of talks with Taliban has not stopped.”

“Time is needed to improve the environment and we do not want to engage in war of words at this time. Patience should be shown.”

The minister said the country lost brave officers and jawans of the army in the latest incident. “They gave the ultimate sacrifice in serving the motherland.”

Paying tribute to the armymen killed in the Taliban attack, he said their sacrifices would be remembered forever as they laid down their lives to save future of coming generations.

The minister said: “Nations pay a price when problems are not resolved and they also pay a price when problems are settled. Fruits are reaped when problems are resolved.”

In reply to a question about Karachi, the information minister said no effort was made in the past to restore peace there.

“Has it ever happened that arrests were made in Karachi? No effort was made in the past to resolve the issue and Karachi continued to burn and people have been losing lives in target killings every day.”

He said now the federal government had fulfilled its responsibility and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supported its efforts for peace in Karachi.

To a question about the arrest of a former MQM MPA, he said it was a change that law-enforcement agencies arrested a lawmaker and then released him after conducting an impartial investigation.

He said law-enforcement agencies were making efforts to improve law and order as was evident from the recent arrests in Murree and Lahore.

“Today I met people at the Karachi airport on my return to Islamabad and saw trust and satisfaction in their faces. We want to maintain this atmosphere of trust and sustain the success achieved in the city. When the message spreads that criminals will be taken to task, the crime rate comes down,” he said.

To a question about death sentences, Mr Rashid said the matter had been lingering for a long time and there were more than 500 cases.

Due to ‘unknown reasons’, decision on cases could not be reached, he claimed, adding that rule of law would be followed.

The minister said he was optimistic about the future of Pakistan and the present challenges would be overcome.

Referring to Turkey, he said that the country was extending cooperation to Pakistan in energy, housing and transport sectors. Pakistan had regained confidence of the international community and foreign investors, many leaders and important delegations from various countries, including the United Kingdom and Thailand, had visited the country, he added.

To another question, the minister categorically stated that no journalist accompanied the prime minister on the foreign visit at public expense.

He said the expenses of any journalist who went along with the prime minister to Turkey, were borne by his organisation.—APP

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