PTI senior leader Dr Shireen Mazari has claimed that former army chief (retired) General Qamar Javed Bajwa wanted to “resettle” members of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the country, following Afghan Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August 2021.

Mazari made these remarks on Dawn News programme ‘Doosra Rukh’, which will air at 7pm today. The statement from the former minister comes at a time when there has been a substantial increase in terror activities across the country, with an attack on the Karachi police chief’s office on Friday night being the latest incident.

The hours-long combat between terrorists and law-enforcement agencies, at the office located at Sharea Faisal, left four people martyred and 16 injured while all three terrorists were reported to be killed.

During the interview, Mazari said, “Bajwa at one point brought up the matter (of Taliban) — General Faiz was also present at the time — that there are Pakistani nationality families in the TTP who want to return to the country.

“If they accept the Constitution and lay down their arms, something should be done for some sort of resettlement and talks should be held.”

The PTI leader added a meeting was called as the resettlement suggestion had caused an “immediate reaction from the elected PTI members”.

“It was clearly decided that before initiating a dialogue, a committee will be formed between the elected representatives and the military to form a consensus as our elected people have a lot of reservations.”

Mazari said the PTI had demanded that first, a consensus should be reached and then a dialogue with the TTP should be initiated.

She then lamented that afterwards, the PTI government was ousted and the current government “did not care about what dialogue was to be held with whom”.

The former MNA asserted that the blame for failing to deal with the TTP would “fall not on us but the imported government”.

The PTI leader insisted that Gen Faiz had made a visit “in the beginning to talk to the Afghan government” and not the Taliban.

‘All options open’

Additionally, when asked about PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s demand seeking legal action against Gen Bajwa for alleged violation of the Constitution, Mazari said that the party “had all options open to it”.

She said, “By the way, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has admitted that when he was the prime minister, there was interference back then as well and Bajwa was not letting him do many things; so, this is nothing new.

“When the Constitution is violated, whichever Article is violated, there is the option to take action against the violator. So, let’s see what the President says.”

When asked if there was any threat given to Imran from Gen Bajwa, Mazari responded, “It has been heard that he gave a lot of threats. I was also present in many meetings [but] I do not want to say anything right now. Everything will come forward at its time.”

She refrained from giving further details saying the PTI cared that “many things are sensitive and confidential for the country” even if Gen Bajwa did not do so. “Do not push us so much that we are forced to tell everything,” she added.

The PTI leader said she knew “whatever used to be said about the United States and India” through what was discussed during parliament briefings.

When asked if the former army chief was in favour of India in any way, Mazari replied, “I would only say that when the proposal surfaced to start trade with India, it was the Cabinet’s decision that until India steps back from its illegal actions of Aug 5, we cannot talk with it.”

When asked further if Gen Bajwa thought the contrary about the trade, she said, “Probably; the proposal did stem from somewhere.”

“Bajwa sahib said himself ‘I had arranged [matters] and a meeting was also being held but then Khan sahib said the meeting of national security advisors could not take place neither could trade’,” she added.

The PTI chief had in the past defended his plan to resettle TTP families in the country, saying the “returning fighters had many issues that needed to be resolved for peace in the province” and that reaching an agreement was the better option compared to the only other choice of killing them all.

He had linked the surge in terror incidents across Pakistan with his removal from power and held the incumbent PDM government responsible for derailing the peace process.

“When the Afghan war ended… some 30,000 to 40,000 Pakistani tribal fighters wanted to come back,” Imran had said, adding all stakeholders, inclu­ding local leaders, had been taken on board regarding their resettlement in the country.

“The PTI government had two options: either kill all of them or reach an agreement with them and allow them to settle in the province. These returning fighters had many issues that needed to be resolved for peace in the province,” he had said, underlining that the process was ongoing when the “infamous regime cha­nge operation removed” him from power.

Opinion

Editorial

Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...
Budget and politics
Updated 14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

PML-N, scared of taking bold steps lest it loses whatever little public support it has, has left its traditional support — traders — virtually untouched.
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...