ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday said bringing peace and protection of life and property of the people were the top priorities of his government.
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He was talking to the members of the government's and Taliban's committees set up to end violence in the country here at the PM House.
Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan cannot progress and develop without peace. He said that Pakistan has paid a heavy price for violence and terrorism and now it was vital to bring in peace so that the country's stature in the world comity be restored and a pleasant revolution be brought about in the lives of the common man.
According to a statement released from the PM House, Sharif said being the Prime Minister of the country it was his constitutional, religious, national, moral and civic responsibility to put an end to this game of fire and fury and bring peace to the country and the people.
"I will not shy away from discharging my responsibilites," the prime minister said. He said the consultation, communication and advice of the committees would continue in the new phase of decision making.
Maulana Samiul Haq while lauding the prime minister's commitment for a peaceful resolution said the members of the committee stood with the government in this regard.
He agreed with the Prime Minister that a new strategy was needed to make effective the decision-making process in the next phase.
Maulana Samiul Haq said with the personal guidance, interest and sincerity of the Prime Minister, the situation would soon improve and with Allah's blessing there would be peace in the country.
Earlier the coordinator of the government committee and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddique briefed the Prime Minister about the meeting of the two committees held on Wednesday in Akora Khattak.
The meeting was attended by members of the Taliban Committee; Maulana Samiul Haq, Professor Muhammad Ibrahim and Maulana Mohammad Yousaf, while those from the government committee included Irfan Siddque, Major (Retd) Aamir, Rustam Shah Mohmand and Rahimullah Yousafzai. Interior Minister Ch. Nisar was also present.
The government on Thursday has decided to dissolve its negotiating committee, nominated for peace dialogues with Taliban.
The new committee would be constituted in two to three days, media reports quoting sources said. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be head of the new committee, while Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan would be focal person. Sources said representatives of ISI, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government and federal government would be included in the team.
The new dialogue team would directly hold talks with Taliban, sources added. Earlier, the negotiators representing the federal government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday in wake of the government's decision to form a new committee to interact with the Taliban.
The meeting held at the PM House was also attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
A joint statement issued after a meeting of the negotiators representing the federal government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said the present committees would only perform coordination duties.
The statement issued by the Prime Minister House said the teams would consider new strategies in order to make the decision-making process more effective. It also reiterated that in the absence of peace, there would be no prosperity in the country and added that all forms of terrorism would be eliminated from Pakistan.
The statement said the new phase of decision-making would require consultation and guidance of both the committees.
Sources said the meeting discussed ways of furthering peace talks between the government and the Taliban. According to sources, it was decided during the meeting to increase the number of committee members and include stakeholders in peace talks as well.
Speaking to media representatives after the meeting, Sami said Prime Minister Nawaz had appreciated the performances of both the negotiating teams, adding that the meeting had remained a positive one. He said both the sides had agreed to further peace talks and the prime minister was hopeful that the situation would not call for an operation.
"Nawaz said that he will try not to conduct a military operation," the JUI-S chief stated. He further stated that now was time to make decisions and hopefully matters will be resolved as the intermediary committees have opened the door for negotiations.
In response to a question by a reporter, Haq added that a trip to Waziristan will be organised in one or two days. "We will ask them to indicate the attackers of Islamabad court as Taliban have condemned this incident and they say that they (Taliban) don't know them (attackers). The terrorists can be tracked down if government agencies made efforts."
He reiterated his stance against the "third enemy" saying that they should be identified and the government and TTP should work together to unveil them. He underscored that negotiators from both sides should collaborate in order to identify elements trying to sabotage the peace process and expressed the hope that all matters would be resolved in a peaceful manner. It would be beneficial for peace talks if new intermediary committees were made, Samiul Haq said in response to a question.
Replying to a question, he said consensus of all stakeholders is vital for exchange of prisoners and military withdrawal from tribal areas. "Things will not work without the stakeholders, we seek their cooperation." The head of the government peace-talk committee Irfan Siddiqui said that the time has come to take decisions for the restoration of peace in the country.
"The PM has described the restoration of peace as his top most priority and assured in today's meeting that we will play his role. He also assured that all negotiators would be facilitated for holding talks with Taliban," Irfan Siddiqui while briefing media persons after the meeting of Taliban's peace committee with Prime Minister.
Both the committee presented their suggestion to the Prime Minister that the stages of the talks have completed and now it is time to take decisions. The government should add the names of influential people because more sensitive matters are going to come forward which need to be tackled properly, he said. Replying to a question, Siddiqui said that it was decided in the meeting that one member of government committee will also go along the Taliban committee for meeting with Taliban Shoora in North Waziristan.
He said the government committee suggested the PM to directly contact with Taliban, at which, he has agreed to consider this option. "We and Taliban have express regret over recent attacks, they are harmful for the ongoing talks, but besides, the TTP must expel the terrorists from their ranks and clarify their viewpoint over recent attacks, only disowning the attackers will not be enough," he said.
To a question about change in committees, he said the PM will constitute new committee for peace talks, if required, and clarified that 'political leadership will lead the mechanism'. "All the stakeholders are in harmony with political leadership."
He said there should be no terrorist attacks after ceasefire as these can disrupt the dialogue process.
Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Raiwind and discussed issues relating to law and order situation in the country and ongoing dialogue process with Taliban. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the meeting reviewed future strategy to carry forward the peace talks.
PM also put emphasis on future strategy on talks with Taliban in this regard.
Deputy Opposition leader in the Senate Raza Rabbani has said that the government by inviting army to negotiations with the Taliban is committing an unconstitutional act.
Speaking on a point of order in the upper house of the parliament on Thursday Rabbani said that the current government is again inviting the army into politics. The job of the army is to protect the borders not become part of political process. Taliban are killers of ISI and the army.
In the past also due to the ill policies of PML-N the country had to bear a dictator for 10 years.
Rabbani said that the government is sweeping the real issues under the carpet and has not learned any lesson from its past mistakes.
He said that the government is making national policy but has not presented the documents in the house, which is a grave situation. Responding to a point of order raised by Mian Raza Rabbani, Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq assured that the documents of Internal National Security Policy will soon be presented before the House. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday stressed the need to hold serious dialogue between the government and Taliban committee.
Talking to media outside the Parliament House, Fazlur Rehman did not see any substantial progrees so far in the dialogue process. He strongly condemned the sedition charges on Kashmiri students in India, who were expelled from a private university in UP for celebrating Pakistan's victory against Bangladesh. He demanded a formal apology in this regard. JUI-F chief said that world powers should not interfere the internal affairs of any independent country. - APP