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PESHAWAR, Feb 2: Pakistan People’s Party, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Anwar Saifullah Khan on Saturday stressed the need for negotiations with Taliban to restore peace in the country.

Speaking at the Guest Hour Programme of the Peshawar Press Club, the PPP president said the holding of the all parties’ conference on counter-terrorism at a time when elections were imminent would turn out to be a futile exercise.

He said APC was being organised after the menace of terrorism had spread to all parts of the country.

“It is right but a much-delayed effort,” he said. Mr Saifullah said priority should be given to negotiations otherwise some other options should be applied to overcome terrorism.

He said after coming to power in the province, his party would follow the philosophy of Islam to maintain merit, provide justice and take decisions on the basis of equity.

“We will be in the driving seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after elections. We will ensure good governance and a focus on legislation. Local bodies elections will be held to focus on recruitment in different departments and carry out development plans in the province,” he said. Expressing concern over destruction in the province due to terrorism, he said the people had heavily suffered, especially in Fata, but he would personally redress grievances of all people if PPP was elected to power.

Flanked by MPA Nighat Orakzai, Yawar Naseer and Saeed Ahmad Khan, the PPP president said the federal government was committed to holding the elections on time as both the largest parties, PPP and PML-N, were in favour of elections to continue the process of democracy

He added that the establishment should not create hurdles to the holding of elections in the country. Mr Saifullah reiterated his party’s stand to contest elections in the province without forming alliance with any political party.

He said being a leading party, PPP accepted junior partnership and gave PML-N the chance to rule Punjab and ANP to govern KP, but the next chance to rule would be that of PPP. He said PPP had suffered due to the coalition partners in the province.

Mr Saifullah said the PPP option of seat-to-seat adjustments in consultation with party leaders would remain open and if there was a need, coalition may again be formed with ANP for the welfare of people in the province.

About the caretaker government in the province, he said ANP would consult PPP as they were coalition partners and such steps would be taken as a result of consensus. He dispelled the impression about prolonging the term of the coming caretaker governments. The PPP president supported local government system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said after passage of 18th Amendment to the Constitution, provinces had more administrative and financial powers for providing relief to the people on their doorsteps. He said the all parties’ conference on restoring peace could be convened during the first year of the ANP-led provincial government as it was the best time to control surge in militancy in the province.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lacks honest and competent leadership to eliminate militancy,” he said, adding that there was a need for talks with militants to restore peace in the province and tribal areas.