ISLAMABAD - The political and military top brass discussed the overall security situation of the country, the Prime Minister’s upcoming US visit and progress on the dialogue initiative with Taliban.
The high-level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatami and other officials.
Sources in the government said that ahead of the meeting, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI DG Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam had separate meetings with the prime minister and discussed with him matters purely relating to the armed forces, particularly the top military appointments. The PM may appoint new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee before leaving for the United States.
Sources disclosed both the political and military leadership of the country were on the same page regarding the negative impact of US drone attacks and it was decided that the PM would forcefully take up this issue with the US president during his upcoming visit.
The military leadership expressed grave concern over the unabated terrorist attacks by Taliban, even after showing of the olive branch by the government. The PM, however, supported continuity of the peace initiative. It was further decided at the meeting that operation in Karachi against the miscreants and terrorists would continue and it was also agreed that no pressure whatsoever would be accepted in this regard.
The matter of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency’s involvement in the recent spate of terrorist activities also came under discussion. It was decided that the matter would be taken up with Afghan President after securing more evidence in this connection.
Sources further said that military leadership had expressed concern over the ongoing terrorist attacks in the country and said that in these circumstances it would not possible to enter into meaningful dialogue with Taliban, but Prime Minister Sharif insisted the government should take the dialogue offer to militants to its logical end.
Sartaj Aziz briefed the participants on various aspects of the prime minister’s visit to US. The Indo-Pak relations and violations on the Line of Control and its overall impact on the initiation of composite dialogue with India also figured at the meeting.
Monitoring adds: Information Minister Pervez Rashid, after the meeting, told reporters the prime minister was briefed at the meeting on security situation in the country. He said Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had made it clear several times that talks with militants should be carried out remaining within the Constitution.
Meanwhile, TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, in an interview to BBC last week, said the system of government in Pakistan was secular, so they would continue terrorist attacks in the country even after the evacuation of Nato forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
The TTP chief has said that Pakistan government had handed over the process of talks to media and no talks could be carried out with media.
The federal information minister, referring to talks with the militants, said time was required to create an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and establish contacts with various groups of militants. Nawaz Sharif, during his meeting with the US president, is expected to convince him to stop drone attacks in Pakistan.