LAHORE, Nov 2: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday rejected the demand for cutting off Nato supplies to Afghanistan in protest against the latest US drone attack and expressed the hope that the incident in which TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud was killed would not stop Taliban from holding talks with the government.
Talking to reporters at a local hotel, he said blocking Nato supplies would not stop drone strikes. “Tit-for-tat actions flare up fire and our government wants to put out this fire,” he said. “We will not allow the [TTP leader’s] killing to derail the process of negotiations with Taliban.”
He said political parties calling for cutting off Nato supply lines should be asked whether such a strategy in reaction to the Salala incident had halted drone attacks, adding that the strikes had continued during the suspension of supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Asked about the chances of derailment of talks with Taliban in the wake of the killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud, he said that ups and downs during such peace process were a routine matter.
(According to AFP, he said: “We can say that this time drone struck the peace talks but we will not let the peace talks die.”)
Earlier, a major general and some soldiers as well as innocent people were killed when efforts were made to kick-start the peace talks, he said. “We have suffered around 50,000 civilian and military casualties but even then we believe in negotiations. The Taliban should also show the same spirit now. I believe that they will do so.”
The minister said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to the US and the drone attack had no link with each other. “The US and Pakistan have different views on drone strikes. The prime minister holds the same views on the issue which he held before and during the visit.”
Earlier speaking at a seminar, the information minister said the government wanted to give a secure country to future generations. “We should overcome our weaknesses and rectify our mistakes to ensure protection of human rights.”
He said people should confess that they had promoted intolerance. “We talk of good things in Islam but do not follow them.”
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar also spoke on the occasion.