ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the federal government will take action by its own if Punjab government failed to hunt down terrorists in the province.
Talking to the media after 25th passing out parade of police recruits at Police Lines in Islamabad on Saturday, he however appreciated detainment of LeJ leader Malik Ishaq by Punjab government while urging the provincial administration for the launch of criminal cases against him.
Upon being asked about the purposed talks between the government and the Taliban, the minister repeated his invitation to the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) for negotiations saying that if Taliban announce their negotiating team, ‘we are ready for talks’.
But Malik said the Taliban will have to demonstrate seriousness and “they first have to surrender their weapons”. He said that it seems when Taliban feel they are losing ground they come up with the offer of dialogue. Taliban have rejected calls for laying down arms and their spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said that ceasefire could be on the agenda if the talks are started.
To a question, Malik said that Pakistan would formally request Interpol to gain custody of Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, who was captured by Afghanistan at the Pak-Afghan border. The minister said Faqir was wanted in different cases of terrorism and “we want his deportation to Pakistan so that action could be initiated against him”.
Recently Pakistan had asked the Afghan government for the handover of Faqir but Afghan Foreign Ministry refused it saying there is no bilateral agreement for exchange of prisoners. Moreover, Afghanistan says that Pakistan has also refused to hand over the Afghan Taliban prisoners to the country when Afghan authorities asked for their return at a London summit this month.
Faqir, who had been chief of Taliban in Bajaur tribal region, had fled to Afghanistan after the 2008-2009 military operation in his area, Pakistani officials say. He was suspected to be behind attacks on Pakistan forces in Bajaur and attacks on Pakistani border posts from Afghan soil. The Taliban leadership had removed him as deputy of the group after reports that he was involved in unauthorised talks with the government.
Earlier addressing the participants of passing out parade the interior minister said Pakistan is passing through a critical phase and facing challenges of extremism and terrorism. He said the PPP government soon after assuming power decided to enhance the capacity and capability of law enforcement agencies.
He said the nation knows that the elements plotting to destabilize Pakistan by conducting terrorism in Karachi‚ Peshawar and Quetta have failed. He expressed the hope that the nation would overcome the terrorism with the help of law enforcing agencies. He said Pakistan lies at the crossroads of Central and South Asia and due to its geostrategic importance and nuclear status‚ it has become a target of foreign interests that want to harm it.
The minister said the government decided to give representation to Baloch people in all departments and the induction of Baloch youth in Islamabad Police as part of Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan is reaffirmation of this commitment. He urged the Baloch youth on mountains to come down and become part of mainstream life.