HYDERABAD: Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said Saturday that the federal government should ensure there is a ceasefire from the Taliban side if the government is to engage them in peace talks.
He was speaking to journalists after condoling the death of the mother of Senator Maula Bux Chandio at his residence. Party leaders Fayyaz Shah, Shahid Ansari and others were also present.
“The APC had given mandate to the government to talk to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the establishment of peace and all political parties will support the initiative,” he said. But, he continued, it does not mean that attacks on assets, processions and government functionaries should also continue. “The federal government must try that there is a ceasefire by the Taliban and there should be no more attacks on our assets, people and government functionaries,” he said.
An all party conference held on Nov 28, 2012 had called for holding peace talks with the banned TTP immediately to restore peace in the military-infested tribal region of the country. A declaration was issued at the APC which was attended by the entire political leadership of the country.
Sharjeel said that Sindh police is being strengthened and backing active police officers. “The force is being equipped. We are procuring more bullet proof jackets and vehicles given the fact that attackers and enemies always plan their attack with new vigor,” said the information minister.
He said that federal government should take a clear position and ensure a ceasefire in this regard. He added that the Sindh government was committed to eradicating terrorism. “The morale of our police officers is very high,” he remarked.
He said the government has to focus on how terrorists are infiltrating Karachi and arranging logistics. “How are they getting explosives and who is providing them logistical support? We can use organisations like Nadra if it comes to checking records. If (this) suicide bomber belonged to South Waziristan, it doesn’t mean that entire South Waziristan is a terrorist belt. People in fact reach Karachi for labour work and they don’t bring tanks with them so police can spot them. We need to see who their local mastermind is,” he said.
About the killing of SP CID Chaudhry Aslam Khan in a bomb attack in Karachi on Thursday, he said that investigations were continuing and investigators have obtained important leads. “We will be looking into the fact that who organised the attack. Police are being equipped accordingly,” he said.
He said that the slain SP was heading a specialised unit and he had left a good team of officers who would continue to work on counter-terrorism. “Only yesterday three Taliban were killed in an encounter,” he said.
About LG elections, the minister – who also holds portfolio of local bodies – said that local bodies’ elections were not going to be held at least until February. He said that the Sindh government has moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order that was passed in identical petitions.
He said that political parties had exercised their right by moving court on some particular questions and it doesn’t mean that there is enmity between treasury and opposition benches. He said that Sindh High Court has called for new delimitations and apex court would pass some order on government’s petition so everything is dependent on court now.
He denied that PPP co chairman Asif Ali Zardari has formed some new committee to hold dialogue with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). He said that an old committee is there to deal with any such talks.
He said that only recently the chief minister met Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and there was no deadlock. He said that Sindh government would release additional grant to Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) to settle its row with power utility, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).