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Mixed chorus at Pak-TTP peace talks

world Updated: Feb 16, 2014 02:42 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

As the Pakistan government continues to talk with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) over a possible peace deal, there is a growing consensus amongst various quarters that a military operation should be started instead.

Calls for a military operation were made in Parliament on Friday after 13 cops lost their lives in a TTP attack in Karachi the same day. The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. But some argue that a military operation is not the answer.

Remarks by PTI chairman Imran Khan where he quoted PM Nawaz Sharif as saying that such an operation would lead to “40% success” have created a storm in political circles.

Interior minister Nisar Ali Khan told the media that there should be no misconception in anybody’s mind about the capability and the strength of the armed forces of Pakistan.

“This capability has been proven time and again, especially with the two recent examples of targeted operations in Swat and Waziristan.”

Senate’s leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq, too, rejected the remarks made by PTI chairman Imran Khan and clarified that a meeting between PM Nawaz‚ former army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani‚ the interior minister and the PTI chairman was held.

“Imran Khan misquoted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former army chief Pervaiz Kayani while stating that there were 40% chances of success if an operation is started against militants,” he informed the Senate.

For his part, Khan told the media that he stands by his statement and that he is fearful that an operation against the TTP will make matters worse in the country.

Some seek ceasefire
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s senior religious leaders on Saturday urged the Taliban militants and the government to immediately declare a ceasefire for the success of the ongoing peace dialogue.

“We appeal to both the government and the Taliban to immediately announce a ceasefire. Cessation of violent acts by both sides will push the peace process forward,” a joint statement issued at a conference said.

The statement read out by head of the Taliban dialogue committee, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, at a news conference warned that military operation would cause more destruction and could put the national security at risk.

“We announce a complete support for the dialogue process between the Taliban and the government and are confident that the process will yield positive results,” Saturday’s statement said. The statement also called upon the government to quit the international coalition on war on terror and review foreign policy.

(with IANS inputs)