KARACHI: Terming Imran Khan’s suggestion to allow the Taliban to open an office for peace talks a ‘dangerous idea’, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has questioned the significance of talks with the outlawed outfit if the Taliban are not a unified group.
In a statement sent to Dawn on Friday, Mr Hussain, without naming anyone, said: “There are some politicians in the country who maintain that the issue can be resolved by holding dialogue and some even suggest that the militants should be allowed to open an office for this purpose, thereby recognising them as a legitimate stakeholder.”
He said every country had its own well-defined stakeholders, which played positive and constructive roles in the process of nation-building. However, those working for weakening the country by engaging in destructive activities, non-state actors or anti-state elements could not be referred to as ‘stakeholders’.
Referring to a recent all-party conference, the MQM chief said the forum gave the government a mandate to hold talks with extremists and militants to give peace a chance. But this did not stop militants from carrying out attacks and they also made it clear that they would continue to strike in future as well, he added.
“These recent acts of terrorism have provoked a huge wave of anger in the country and some quarters are demanding that the dialogue offer with the Taliban should be withdrawn forthwith,” he said, adding that some pro-Taliban parties argued that the recent attacks were carried out by some fringe groups and not the Taliban, which they said had nearly 25 groups and some of them were still not in favour of talks.
Mr Hussain said their argument made the whole question of talks into deep complication because if the Taliban were not a unified body and lacked the ability to control other militant groups, would it be fruitful to talk to them? “Should we talk to the Taliban or these fringe yet powerful groups or both?”
“We all recognise the importance of holding dialogue for resolving issues, but I would like to put a question to leaders, scholars and academicians: dialogue but with whom?”