Govt's stance to hold peace talks receives mixed reactions

Published January 29, 2014
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah. — File photo
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: In the wake of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s announcement to formulate a four-member committee to hold negotiations with the Pakistan Taliban, the decision attracted mixed reactions from the major political parties in the country.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said “if the government wanted to end terrorism through peace talks, then the opposition would extend its full cooperation and support” adding that the “opposition would never try politicise the issue of terrorism.”

He said it should also be ensured that the militants did not carry out sabotage activities as they had done earlier in response to the dialogue offer.

However, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari criticised the decision of the government.

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said there had been a lot of confusion but Sharif's speech had brought in clarity. “I welcome your statement and constitution of the committee. But, I assume that the dialogue should be open.”

He said the nation should be kept abreast of the dialogue process through media. He also welcomed that Sharif would himself oversee the dialogue process.

He said those militant groups, which did not want dialogue, must be isolated while those with positive thinking should be approached.

He, however, demanded of the government to take strict notice against Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah's speech where he had announced to hold an operation against militant groups in Punjab.

Whereas, member of the ruling coalition Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the decision to hold negotiations with the Taliban reflected the decision of the Parliament and said he would fully cooperate with the government to ensure a successful outcome.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar questioned the government as to which TTP faction would it approach for holding talks?

He said talks should be held with those factions who were ready, adding that it should also notify of a timeframe.

The civil society organisations also welcomed the PM initiatives for peace and urged Taliban to positively respond to the government's offer. They expressed hope that members of the peace committee would play a key role in establishment of durable peace and play a constructive role in resolution of problems.

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