APC calls for immediate peace talks with Taliban

APC calls for immediate peace talks with TalibanPosted by Faheem Belharvi

Supports grand jirga efforts for promoting peace in FATA   APC calls for immediate peace talks with Taliban Friday, March 01, 2013 – Islamabad—The All Parties Conference (APC) organized by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) has issued a declaration which backs efforts of the grand jirga for promoting peace in FATA. “Pakistan’s government should take immediate steps to initiate peace talks with Taliban militants” the declaration demanded.

The declaration further adds that leaders of various parties at the APC will hold talks with the members of the grand jirga and the number of members in the pre-existing grand jirga should be increased.

According to the declaration, practical measures should be taken to eliminate terrorism and a trust should be established for the families of the victims of terror. The APC has made it clear that the current and upcoming government will be responsible for implementation of the APC decision.

During their speeches, representatives of political parties stressed that a positive response should be given to the Taliban’s offer of peace talks. PML-N president Nawaz Sharif said that peace is achieved through dialogue not war.

He urged all political parties to play their due role in meeting challenges faced by the country. Sharif said that the offer of dialogue by the Pakistani Taliban should be taken seriously. He said that today not only Pakistan, but the entire region was plagued by terrorism.

He congratulated the JUI-F for convening the APC, adding: “We should keep aside our political differences and play our due role in maintaining peace in the country.” Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated that the law and order situation was disappointing but this should not be a deterrent.

The JUI-F chief said that talks with Pakistani Taliban militants would be useless without taking the military into confidence. Fazl also stressed that peace in Pakistan’s tribal region is closely linked to peace in neighbouring Afghanistan. “Peace in the tribal areas is linked to peace in Afghanistan. We should put the past behind us and move forward towards peace talks,” said Rehman. PPP president Makhdoom Amin Fahim said all efforts for peace would be supported adding that a decision should be made which is within the writ of the government, law and constitution. “The PPP itself is a victim of terrorism.”

JI Ameer, Syed Munawar Hasan addressing the conference said a positive response from the government regarding the Taliban’s offer for peace talks had not come forward. Aftab Sherpao said talks should be held after the Taliban lay down their arms.

Dr Farooq Sattar from the MQM said peace in Karachi and Balochistan was tied to FATA and there was a need to unite on the national agenda. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Secretary General Mushahid Hussain asked that if dialogue with India could be pursued, then why not with the Taliban.

The moot was also attended by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Syed Munawar Hassan, MQM Deputy Convener Dr Farooq Sattar, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Akram Durrani, Mehmood Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), tribal elders and other leaders.

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