ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the overall security situation in the country, with specific reference to the government’s initiative to broker peace with militants through dialogue.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan briefed the prime minister on the overall security situation in the country and the measures being taken by the law-enforcement agencies to curb militancy and lawlessness.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Ishfaq Nadeem, the ISI DG and the special assistant to PM also attended the meeting held in the afternoon at the Prime Minister’s House.
A report said the military leadership provided assurance that decisions of the government would be implemented.
Sources informed The Nation that the army chief shared with the premier the deliberations of the corps commanders’ recent conference, while Ch Nisar Ali Khan briefed him on the development on formation of a new committee to hold direct talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The Nation had broken the news last week that the COAS would meet the PM and apprise him of the corps commanders’ meeting.
The decision of not engaging the army in direct talks with TTP and its role from behind the scene also came under discussion at the meeting, the sources added.
The proposed names in the future government committee to hold direct talks with TTP also came under discussion and the armed forces’ input was also sought regarding the formation of the fresh peace body.
When contacted, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar did not give any details about the matters discussed at this high-level meeting and simply said that overall security situation in the country came under discussion.
When pressed to share details, he just said as the meeting was about the security issues, the interior minister was the right person to answer such questions.
However, sources revealed the chief of the army staff assured full support to the government in facilitating the direct talks, most probably going to be held in the restive tribal areas once the new committee was finalised.
Sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would likely be calling another meeting on the subject once the names of committee members were finalised to brief the participants of the meeting on the broader contours of the peace parleys with the Taliban.
NATION READY TO FIGHT IF
DIALOGUE FAILS: IMRAN
INP adds: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Tuesday that the whole nation would be ready to fight if dialogue with Taliban failed, adding that the nation has to think whether problems will be solved post-operation.
Addressing the media personnel at a local hotel in Lahore, he said the majority of Taliban desire negotiations, adding that country’s ‘enemies’ don’t want dialogue to take place.
The whole nation will be united and ready to fight if the dialogue process fails, he said, urging people to think if operation will solve the problems.
Imran said that the economic growth was not possible without elimination of corruption. “Accountability should be equal for everybody,” he said.
To a question, Imran said the PTI would not remain silent over the ‘rigging’ in the general elections and by-polls. He said his party would consider all options, including launching a country-wide movement, in case it did not get justice.
He said he will provide evidence regarding rigging in the polls in his meeting with the acting chief election commissioner on Thursday (tomorrow).
The PTI chief said the main cause of problems in the country was corruption. He said the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken practical steps for ending corruption.
Imran said a free judiciary was vital for ending corruption in the country.
To another question, the PTI chief said those responsible for the situation in Tharparkar did not deserve any concession. He said strict action should be taken against those responsible for Tharparkar situation.
TTP REJECTS KP OFFICE OFFER
Monitoring adds: Taliban have turned down PTI’s offer to open office in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, whereas TTP talks committee member Yousaf Shah says militants are ready for negotiations.
According to reports, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak repeated Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s offer for Taliban to open office. Addressing media in Peshawar, Khattak said provincial government can allocate space to Taliban to open office if the federation wants, adding that the offer isn’t limited to office space only.
However the efforts proved to be one-sided as Taliban turned down the offer, saying they never demanded office space anywhere in the country and that they don’t need it.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said that Taliban do not need an office.
Addressing media in Peshawar, Yousaf Shah said that Taliban leadership are ready for direct and formal negotiations and is willing to solve the problem through dialogue.