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Cabinet gives nod to move forward Taliban peace dialogue

Updated November 04, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. – File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet of Pakistan Monday decided to honour the decisions taken by the All Parties Conference (APC) and carry forward the Taliban peace dialogue without letting this process derailed.

“Pakistan has the right to take its decisions on its own according to its interests,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said while addressing a special meeting of the federal cabinet here.

“If there cannot be cooperation with the process we have initiated to end terrorism, it should at least not be damaged,” he remarked in an apparent reference to the US.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan briefed the meeting on the emerging situation in the aftermath of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s killing in a US drone strike on Friday.

It is pertinent to mention that the militant outfit has refused to hold any kind of dialogue with the Pakistani government, according to a report published on BBC Urdu website.

TTP’s central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, in a stern tone, assailed the government and the armed forces by calling them ‘slaves of America.’ “There cannot be any kind of dialogue with the slaves of America,” he said. The Pakistani Taliban spokesman also severally criticised the media.

Without mentioning the US during Monday's meeting, the prime minister said that continuation of an unfortunate and condemnable practice of the drone attacks manifested that Pakistan's view point for the permanent elimination of terrorism and the establishment of durable peace was not understood.

The recent APC depicted that the entire political and military leadership as well as the masses, media and civil society wanted to resolve the issue of terrorism through serious and meaningful dialogue, he said, adding, the whole international community also wanted elimination of the bloodshed.

Sharif said Pakistan has paid the highest price of terrorism, rendering unmatchable sacrifices. “We are fully alive to the severity of the issue, but we should be let to address our problems according to our own strategy,” he maintained.

The premier recalled his recent statement, in which he revealed the start of peace dialogue, adding, “The ice was melting and contacts had been established from both the sides.”

“Amidst this scenario, the drone strike inflicted serious damage to the government's efforts for dialogue and peace.”

The prime minister, however, expressed his confidence that “we will not let the efforts for dialogue and peace to be derailed.”

Earlier, in a speech after army exercises near Bahawalpur, Prime Minister Sharif had warned that peace could not be achieved “by unleashing senseless force.”

Prime Minister Sharif directed the interior minister to complete liaison and consultative process with the political leadership on the matter and to make future strategy during the ongoing National Assembly session and report to him accordingly.