LAHORE: A gathering of about 40 clerics and religious leaders has appealed to both the government and Taliban militants to immediately announce a ceasefire and pursue negotiations to restore peace in Pakistan.
In a joint statement issued by the Ulema and Mashaikh Convention which gathered in Lahore on Saturday, religious leaders discouraged the use of a military option and emphasised on dialogue as a durable solution for peace.
The gathering, which concluded in a press briefing led by coordinator of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan nominated talks committee Maulana Samiul Haq, consented on urging both sides to immediately announce ceasefire.
“Peace talks are the only viable solution…war can never bring peace,” said Haq, flanked by several other religious leaders including Jamaat-i-Islami chief Munawar Hassan and leading cleric Allama Tahir Ashrafi.
"Big powers have witnessed the outcome of war in Afghanistan. A military operation will only hurl the country further towards destruction. The peace process should be made successful at all costs,” he added.
Reading out the joint statement, Haq said that dialogue was the only solution to the problems being faced by the country. “We will have to unite to defeat the forces trying tot sabotage the peace process.”
“We appeal to the Taliban to speak in the language of peace,” said the joint statement, urging both sides to immediately announce a ceasefire.
The meeting reiterated its confidence in the peace talks committee headed by Maualana Samiul Haq.