ISLAMABAD: The Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader, Farooq Sattar, on Monday claimed that Taliban control 25 per cent of Karachi and warned that, if immediate steps are not taken, the commercial hub of the country could slip into a bigger crisis.
“Taliban are running a state within the state,” the MQM parliamentary leader said.
Mr Sattar was speaking at a seminar on negotiations with Taliban and operation Zarb-e-Azb. The seminar was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
The MQM parliamentary leader further stated that militants and their sympathisers had made transactions of around Rs1.25 billion in various banks of Karachi, but the state was not paying any heed to this important issue.
Mr Sattar said that the whole nation is standing by the troops waging war against Taliban in North Waziristan.
If steps are not taken the commercial hub can slip into a bigger crisis
“We require a national counterterrorism policy and coordination among the agencies and community,” he said.
ANP Senator Afrasiab Khattak, while hailing government’s decision of launching a military operation, said the government should take care of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and they should be accommodated in settled areas and provided high level of security.
“Taliban had agreed that they would not provide shelters to foreign militants, but they (Taliban) violated the agreement,” Mr Khattak said, but added that it was a wrong notion that after North Waziristan operation, peace will be restored in the country.
He said that ‘Talibanisation’ and terrorism were not confined to North Waziristan only; instead the issues have penetrated across the country.
“We have to make a comprehensive strategy, which should include socio-economic and political measures to curb menace of terrorism.”
The PML-N lawmaker, Arifa Khalid, said the government held talks with the Taliban after consulting all parties. But Taliban kept challenging the state and finally the government had to launch the operation.
PPP MNA Shazia Marri said that Taliban deserved the military operation. “We have to stand as a nation against those who are challenging our country,” she said and added that the war on terror was not a local phenomena but a global issue. She also criticised the newly launched National Internal Security Policy, claiming that government provided incomplete information in this document.
Analyst Ejaz Haider said, “The first problematic premise is to think that fighting with Taliban is the way to peace. There is a dichotomy between talking and fighting,” he added. According to him, “we are at war with Taliban because we were never able to control them.”
Malaika Raza of PTI said that her party did not support Taliban or terrorism, but peace and peace talks. “We negotiate peace with our enemies,” she added.
Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, closed the session with a remark on the operation Zarb-e-Azb. “We have to support our soldiers fighting in the battlefield; we have to fight a war against terror to prove that we need peace.”
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2014