PESHAWAR, Dec 24: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti called upon the political leadership and the military on Monday to immediately put their heads together to find a permanent solution to the problem of militancy.
“Time has come that the military and political leadership take a quick decision and guide the nation. Otherwise, it will be criminal negligence,” he told lawmakers in the provincial assembly amid a sombre mood over the assassination of Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour in a suicide attack on Saturday.
When the assembly’s proceedings began, Chief Minister Hoti, along with ministers and legislators, placed a wreath of red and white roses in the chair of the slain ANP leader. Mr Bilour’s portrait, red cap and shawl were put on his seat and lawmakers lit candles on his desk as a mark of respect and to pay tribute to their colleague. Women members wore black shawls and men black armbands.
Bashir Bilour, who had been elected five times as an MPA, was the third lawmaker of the sitting assembly to have fallen to terrorism.
Earlier, Awami National Party’s MPAs Alamzaib Khan and Shamsher Khan, from Peshawar and Swat, had died in bomb attacks.
Sikandar Khan Sherpao, an MPA, and Jails Minister Mian Nisar Gul survived bomb and suicide attacks.
The chief minister said a delay in taking a decision would amount to a “betrayal of the martyrs”.
“The enemy will be weakened if we take a bold decision. Otherwise, our enemy will gain more strength and power,” he said.
He also said that some people had a misconception that the situation would improve once Nato forces pulled out of Afghanistan.
“The people who have started terrorism and killing innocent people have already vowed to take over Pakistan after coming to power in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the nation had two choices: to fight them or leave the ground open for them.
He said that if militants continued killing leaders and candidates of political parties one by one, the general election would become doubtful.
The Qaumi Watan Party’s parliamentary leader, Sikandar Sherpao, said those sitting in Islamabad did not realise the problems of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.
“People in Islamabad are just watching a game and enjoying, but they should understand that this fire can also engulf other areas of the country,” he warned.
Provincial Environment Minister Wajid Ali Khan said Pakhtuns had been used as fuel in an unending, bloody war while others were getting political and economic benefits from the ongoing conflict. He regretted that some leaders were still trying to justify the activities of militants.
Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said it was surprising that the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan were separately holding talks with the Taliban, warning that this strategy wouldn’t succeed.
Instead of holding talks separately, all stakeholders should sit together and hold a meaningful dialogue with the Taliban, he said.
Mian Iftikhar also criticised the ‘good and bad Taliban’ mantra and said indiscriminate action should be taken against all terrorists.