PESHAWAR: Special assistant to the chief minister on information Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif on Tuesday said the federal government shouldn’t stop holding talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as operations by security forces against militants were not the permanent solution to the problem.

“We need to move forward with some comprehensive approach and open mind,” Mr Saif told a ceremony held at the Shaykh Zayed Islamic Centre in the University of Peshawar to launch the document Charter of Peace.

The event was organised by Islamabad-based think tank Pak Institute for Peace Studies and attended by lawmakers, academics, journalists, students and civil society members.

Mr Saif, who is also the spokesperson for the provincial government, said the government should keeping talking to the TTP for peace without surrender to the banned outfit and should respond vigorously if the latter carried out militant activities.

Says we should move forward with comprehensive approach and open mind

The remarks came a day after the TTP formally called off the ceasefire agreement struck with the federal government earlier this year and ordered its militants to carry out attacks across the country.

“This is your [government’s] choice whether you want to end terrorism in the country with hard measures or through talks,” Mr Saif said.

He said negotiations were the better way to bring sustainable peace to the country.

“Militants were crushed in the past through military operations but unfortunately, they benefited from the ground situation in neighbouring Afghanistan,” he said.

The CM’s aide said peace and war were interrelated but the ‘question of identity’ was very important in that respect. He added that the identity crisis used to push human beings towards some sort of conflict.

Earlier, the PIPS launched the document Charter of Peace, which lays down key recommendations for countering violent extremism and building sustainable solutions towards attaining peace in the country. It focuses on softer and political approaches for counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.

Special assistant to the chief minister on minority affairs Wazeerzada, who was also in attendance, said criminal justice system should be reformed bring sustainable peace in the country.

“Peace can’t be attained until we reform our present weak justice system,” he said.

Mr Wazeerzada said ensuring the rule of law and rights of minorities were the two prerequisites to achieve that objective.

MPA Humaira Bashir said peace couldn’t be achieved without youth’s empowerment and protection of women’s rights.

Shaykh Zayed Islamic Centre director Prof Rashid Ahmad said youth should be encouraged to ask questions and they should be provided with open forums to speak and debate freely.

“Questioning is discouraged among youth,” he said.

Earlier, Pips director Mohammad Amir Rana said the document was launched to reiterate the resolve that Pakistan was inclusive and for all, where rights of everyone should be protected.

He said social and economic development was essential for peace in a society.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022

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