ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peo­ples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has no right or mandate to enter into talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pak­istan (TTP) or any other entity without taking the parliament into confidence.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Rabbani said these were the issues that concerned the future of the nation and, therefore, could not be taken by a small coterie to the exclusion of the parliament, civil society and all other stakeholders.

“The Pakistani parliament should be locked and the key thrown away, rather than suffering humiliation and being shown to be redundant every day,” said Mr Rabbani while commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interview with TRT World published in the newspapers in which he had offered general pardon to the TTP provided the banned group laid down weapons.

In the same interview, the prime minister had disclosed that the Pakistan government was in talks with some groups of the TTP seeking reconciliation.

“Yes, we forgive them and they become normal citizens,” the prime minister was quoted to have stated in the interview.

The government, Mr Rabbani said, needed to build a cross-party and stakeholders’ consensus to establish national ownership. “The parliament must be summoned immediately to discuss this issue,” he said, adding that if the government failed to call a session then the opposition must requisition each house separately.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2021

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