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Taliban talks efforts at standstill: Nisar


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Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. — File photo
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent hardening of the government’s position, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly on Thursday that a move for a peace dialogue with the Taliban rebels had “come to a standstill” with a “serious blow” from Sunday’s attack that killed an army general and that the military and opposition would be consulted in reviewing the process.

In his first public comments on the Taliban-claimed roadside blast of an improvised explosive device in Upper Dir, the minister advised political parties to avoid making statements that could compromise the consensus reached at the Sept 9 all-party conference, which the government to “initiate dialogue with all stakeholders forthwith”.

And in what appeared as a snub to a suggestion by Imran Khan, chairman of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, that the government and Taliban form negotiating teams and announce a ceasefire, he said: “Nobody should advise us for a ceasefire.”

“This incident has dealt a serious blow (to the peace move),” Chaudhry Nisar said about the Sept 15 attack on an army convoy, which killed Maj Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi, Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed and Lance Naik Irfanullah and wounded two soldiers while they were returning to their base after visiting a post near the Afghan border.

“We have come to a standstill,” the minister said in the first clear statement from the government, indicating that the process stood frozen after the Taliban not only claimed responsibility for the Upper Dir bombing as well as three other attacks on security forces on the same day but also put forth hard demands such as release of Taliban militants from the government custody, a general amnesty for Taliban fighters and return of troops to the barracks in Fata as preconditions for the proposed talks.

In recent days, the lower house had faced an embarrassing focus for maintaining a somewhat disquieting silence on the Taliban attacks and outbursts until a belated resolution it passed unanimously on Tuesday, condemning the Upper Dir attack and urging the government to “come out in full support of the armed forces in the fight against terrorism”. That resolution came a day after Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani issued a strongly-worded statement, saying that “no one should have any misgiving that we would let terrorists coerce us into accepting their terms”.

The interior minister seemed seeking to allay concerns about a possible appeasement of militants blamed for an estimated more than 40,000 deaths of civilians and soldiers when he asked the house to “give us time” and assured it that that the government would consult both the opposition and military in taking “a stand that will be in consonance with the country’s independence, sovereignty, integrity and dignity”.

KARACHI CRACKDOWN: The interior minister spoke in detail earlier in his speech about the achievements of a recently launched anti-crime crackdown in Karachi, informing the house of about 1,400 “targeted operations” – 400 by the Rangers and about 1,000 by Sindh police – carried out in the past 15 days of the still unfinished first phase of the action, which he said would be followed by a “surge”, or a “raise in its ante” in the second phase, and then a “crucial” third phase.

Chaudhry Nisar said the operation showed both the federal government of his PML-N and the provincial government of the opposition PPP fulfilling their responsibilities and that “only 10 per cent work done so far” had brought down the of so-called “targeted killings” in Karachi to two to three a day from 16 to 18 a day before that.

Besides those arrested in Karachi, he said, many suspected criminals were fleeing from Karachi, with 250 of them going to far-away North Waziristan and some arrested in Lahore and Murree. “God-willing they will find no haven in whole of Pakistan,” he added.

IT WAS NO LUDO: Describing the Karachi operation as no easy “bite”, the minister said the government was following a strategy worked out in months of homework, whether it be Karachi violence or talks with Taliban. “We are not playing ludo…and we have reached this stage with homework.”

While warning anybody creating hurdles in this mission of being “exposed before the nation”, Chaudhry Nisar had some comforting words for the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which has complained of the Karachi operation being turned against it, that some latest evidence had shown a shadowy so-called “Muhajir Republican Army” group having links “somewhere else” and not with the MQM.

The group was mentioned in a government report submitted to the Supreme Court last month but a portion about it was later withdrawn for being, as the minister said on Thursday, “not substantive enough” to merit presentation to the apex court.

PTI PROTEST: Later in the day, a PTI lawmaker from Karachi, Dr Arif Alvi, protested against the interior minister’s remark that nobody should give ceasefire advice to the government and said the parties who attended the APC had given their views as advice and not a mandate claimed by the government.

Comments (14) Closed

Agha Ata Sep 20, 2013 07:23am

Taliban are not bound by any rule of any game except of their own. They have no regards for any principal or social manner. They are just showing a lollipop and they do not even want to to give it to you, for any reason. The only answer is a hard blow, if the army agrees, or . . .even it doesn't.

assad Sep 20, 2013 07:49am

PTI walay including Dr. Arif Alvi should simply lump it instead of crying over idiotic things. Its their silence and appeasement of the right wing lobby and the TTP that we see a day where these bandits and extremist terrorists are placing lists of demands upon the Government of Pakistan. The shameful silence of the parties such as the PTI and the obvious ones like the JUI etc. is criminal in the face of the excesses that are being committed against the Pakistani nation by the TTP.

IAJ Sep 20, 2013 08:42am

I am surprised at the insistence of the political leadership to make peace with Taliban. In a normal country even if one person is killed there is all out effort to bring perpetrators to justice, here 50,000 killed and counting and our fearless leadership want to setlle with the sworn enemy of the state. Where is the recgnition and sacrifices of those inncoent killed? where is the justice? How can PTI, PML and the rest speak of peace with these cold blooded killers. I am ashamed of calling myself a Pakistani.

m ashraf Sep 20, 2013 10:26am

my dear interior minister your statement is very practical and logical. Keeping one thing always in your mind that your government has been elected by the people of Pakistan not by these other opponent political parties.Your party is moderate and secular. You have clear majority, there is no need to compromise everything. This is simple procedure don't talk with terrorists and killers of innocent people. I wish you succeed uprooting terrorism and other problems of our beloved country.

Aqeel Ahmed Sep 20, 2013 11:33am

I would appreciate if Goverment will proceed for Peace talk with Taliban regardless of opnions and thoughts and curcumstances,because there are many foreign added forces in pakistan which are agsint the Peace talk.fighting is to be kept as a last informed to other countires that this is our internal matter we will solve it by using our techinques.

saima khan Sep 20, 2013 11:59am

Taliban Should Punished on their wrong doings. They killed tens of Pakistani Soldiers in last one decade. Islamically they should get punishment or pay money to victims family and request them for forgiveness. If not they should be punished. They are enemy of Pakistan. Politicians who support them are equally responsible for killings of our soldiers and citizens. NO NEGOTIATION WITH TALIBAN

SAIMA Lahore, Model Town

Khalid Sep 20, 2013 01:48pm

Standstill?. Well, you should order the army to go out there and kill each and every one of these Tlibans. The nation is still mourning the death of its soldiers and all you can do is the indicate that the talks are stalled?. Shame on you. Oh, I forgot. Are these the same people, one of your party leaders asked to bomb other provinces of Pakistan and leave Punjab alone?.

M Rafique Sep 20, 2013 02:07pm

Internal minister is saying the talk efforts are standstill and Information saying the talk in progress, who is lying

ordinary_citizen Sep 20, 2013 02:29pm

Dear Ch. Sahib. Your government is solely responsible for delivering peace to our troubled nation. If you start to deliver you will see all nation will be standing behind you including PTI. Focus on your job and provide clear leadership and direction. Do not get side tracked to secondary details.

Waseem Sep 20, 2013 07:04pm

The best solution of terrorism issue: 1. Release all terrorist and sworn not to capture them again 2. Order all security forces to stop all operation against terrorism and go to eastern border 3. Dismantle Judicial system and setup Qazi courts in all over the country with appoint Mehsood "Qazi-ul-Qaza" 4. Destroy all girls scholls handover all boys schools, colleges and universities to Jamaat-e-Islami 5. Accept Fazal or Munawar your religious leader with powers to wrap governments not following their orders 6. Only criteria to fill all jobs including universities, engineering firms, TV & news papers, police and management should be the knowledge of arabic language and reciting Quran 7. Ask the common people to leave the country

Pakistan will be an ideal country even better then Saud's property (popularly known as Saudi Arabia)

Ali Sep 20, 2013 08:00pm

May be the terrorists do not want to deal with Chaudhry Nisar. May be,changing the representative to someone more appealing to the rag tag people of the wild west, might open up the communication gap.

M. Ahmed Sep 20, 2013 08:42pm

Shame on all those politicians and religious leaders who have soft corner for these killers of thousands of citizens. It's absolutely suicidal to offer negotiations with these killers. Only way is that these fanatics must lay down their arm and joint civil society. Or complete irradiation nothing less.

NASAH (USA) Sep 20, 2013 09:43pm

"the Taliban not only claimed responsibility for the Upper Dir bombing as well as three other attacks on security forces on the same day but also put forth hard demands such as release of Taliban militants from the government custody, a general amnesty for Taliban fighters and return of troops to the barracks in Fata as preconditions for the proposed talks."

The demented Taliban thought with the cowardly killing of a General, a Colonel and a Lance Naik -- they have already defeated the Pakistan army and terrorized into silence the Nawaz Sharif government -- hence the list of outrageous demands to surrender Fata.

Luckily for Pakistan -- Imran Khan is not the Prime Minister -- he may have replied to Hakeemullah -- "jo hukum ho jahaN panah".

US CENTCOM Sep 20, 2013 10:18pm

Not a day goes by without news about Taliban attacks. We all understand the dilemma the people of Pakistan are in. How do you speak