LAHORE - Maulana Samiul Haq, who is also regarded as father of the Taliban, sees no possibility of the militants holding talks with the government unless the rulers first dissociate themselves from the decade-old US war on terror and shoot down the drones entering Pakistan’s territory for attacks in tribal areas.
Talking to The Nation on Monday, he said the government would also have to address Taliban’s reservations about the prevailing political system by giving them an assurance that it would be Islamised in a ‘democratic’ way.
Samiul Haq, who heads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), said eleven of the parties which participated in the government-sponsored APC (all-party conference) on Monday have been supporting the US agenda and opposing the Taliban for one reason or the other. They therefore would not be helpful in solving the problem the conference had been held for, he added.
The JUI-S was not invited to the APC, but Sami said the entire world knew his party’s relevance to matters concerning the Taliban. He said the resolution passed by the conference had landed the government and the army into a new situation and now it was a test of their capabilities to deal with the problem. Sami noted that it was not the first time that participants of a conference had held that war was not the solution. Many resolutions had been passed in the past but were not implemented by the relevant authorities, he deplored.
Asked if Pakistan could face the consequences of shooting down the US drones, the religio-political leader said the government should keep the examples of Iran and North Korea in mind which had refused to give in to all US pressures. The US, he said, could not cause any harm to Pakistan if it took measures to safeguard its sovereignty.
In case Pakistan did not resist the drone attacks, Sami said, the US would try to perpetuate its presence in the region, making the 2014 deadline for withdrawal or drawdown from Afghanistan irrelevant.
The JUI-S leader did not endorse the APC’s decision of taking the drones issue to the United Nations, saying it would amount to burying the issue for good. He recalled that the world body had failed to take any decision on the Kashmir dispute which had been lying on its table for the past six decades.
When pointed out that the Taliban reject Pakistan’s political system as “Nizam-e-Kufr” (the one based on infidelity), the JUI-F leader said it was just propaganda. The Taliban, he said, were of the view that the existing parliamentary system had failed to give people their due rights. If the government assured them that the system would be Islamised in a democratic way, the Taliban would change their views about it. According to him, the Taliban wanted to liberate Pakistan from what he called the US slavery. The Taliban, he said, were of the view that as long as Pakistan was a slave country, the Constitution and the nature of political system enshrined in it was irrelevant. The Taliban, Sami emphasised, were friends of Pakistan and there was no justification for anyone to give a different impression about them.
A TTP spokesman welcomed the talks offer made through a resolution passed by the APC. However, the JUI-F chief did not know which faction of the Taliban he represented. When asked which faction of the TTP the government should talk to, Sami replied, “I don’t know; it’s for the government to decide.”