Will give TTP a chance if they respect the law of Pakistan, says Fawad

Published November 9, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press briefing in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press briefing in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday reiterated that there were certain groups within the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that wanted to shun violence, saying the government too wanted to give its "citizens a chance" if they respected the law of the country and showed their allegiance to the Constitution.

The minister's statement comes a day after he announced that a complete ceasefire had been reached between the government and the banned militant group.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after a cabinet meeting today, Chaudhry insisted that the talks with the TTP would strictly be under the purview of the Constitution.

"There are various groups within TTP; there are [some] ideologues, while there are others who joined the organisation under compulsion. The state of Pakistan wants to give its citizens a chance if all of them, some of them or a fraction of them want to come back and show their allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan," the minister said.

Read more: Complete ceasefire agreed between govt and TTP: Fawad Chaudhry

He told the presser that the new government in Afghanistan wanted Pakistan to negotiate a deal with the TTP. "We believe the new authorities in the neighbouring country want peace in Pakistan," he said, referring to the Taliban administration.

Chaudhry further said Pakistan looked to discourage the narrative that wars should continue "infinitely".

Special funds for Afghanistan

The minister also announced that the cabinet had decided that a special fund would be set up by Pakistan to help Afghanistan tackle hunger and food crises.

"The primary reason for Afghanistan's present situation is that the assets of the country have been seized. Likewise, Afghanistan was dependent on foreign aid and right now there is no aid," he underlined.

He said it had also been decided that Pakistan would send a sufficient amount of wheat and rice to Afghanistan. "We also have slashed all taxes on imports from Afghanistan," he noted.

Chaudhry said it was troubling to note that children were being sold in Afghanistan in exchange for wheat and rice.

'Not recognising Afghanistan at the moment'

The minister said Pakistan was not recognising the Taliban's Afghan government at the moment until all regional powers agreed on the matter.

Also read: Taliban minister appreciates Pakistan for supporting Afghanistan

"Politics will keep going on there, but we want the world to at least stand with humans," he added.

'Country can't be run through subsidies'

Chaudhry also took exception to media reporting about increasing prices of commodities, saying TV channels blew inflation figures out of proportion, which was wrong.

"Gas and oil prices are connected to the international market. How would we run the country if we keep giving subsidies to the targeted audience?" he asked.

He also announced that the Ministry of Information and Technology and the Ministry of Interior had decided that a single emergency helpline — "911" — would be launched in the country which was internationally recognised.

When asked about the government's potential plan in response to reports that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was returning to Pakistan in December, Chaudhry said the PML-N leader should come back to the country this month instead of a month later. "Shehbaz Sharif must bring his brother back to the country now," he said.

Turning to the opposition, the minister said it would have to wait for another five years after the PTI government ended its tenure. "They basically lack the leadership," he said while specifically calling out the Pakistan Democratic Movement — an alliance of several major opposition parties.

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