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APC backs talks with Taliban to establish peace
February 16, 2013
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ISLAMABAD: The All Parties Conference (APC) called by the Awami National Party (ANP) to discuss the issue of terrorism in Pakistan has stressed that first priority should be given to the dialogue with the Taliban to establish peace in the country.

A joint statement issued at the end of the conference said that militancy was an issue for the entire country not for just one party. The statement further stressed that the elimination of terrorism was essential to ensure prosperity in Pakistan. Furthermore, the issue of terrorism should be resolved according to the law and constitution of Pakistan.

Representatives of political parties attending the conference were also unanimous in stating that the issue of terrorism should be resolved according to the requirements of national sovereignty.

Speaking to the media, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said the joint statement would be sent to all institutions of Pakistan. The ANP chief added that Thursday’s conference was the beginning for establishing peace in the country.

Delegations from the PML-N, MQM, PPP, JUI-F, JUP, Pakhtunkhwa MAP, PML-F, Hazara Democratic Party, lawyers’ bodies and parliamentarians from Fata attended the APC. The conference was held two weeks after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) offered to hold talks with the government if Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Syed Munawar Hasan acted as guarantors.

Meanwhile, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq has said that neither the Taliban nor the ANP are serious in holding talks.

Speaking to media after attending the APC, he said conferences and Fatwas would not help resolving the issue of terrorism.

He said his party supported the Taliban for their struggle against occupation forces, adding that negotiations should be held between the militia and the government without any pre-condition.

The cleric said US President Barrack Obama had announced to end war in Afghanistan and Pakistan should also do so, a reference to Obama’s announcement to reduce US troops in Afghanistan.

A conference of religious scholars (Ulema) from Afghanistan and Pakistan will take place in Kabul on March 10, a spokesman for the Pakistani foreign office said.

During the foreign office’s weekly briefing in Islamabad, spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan said both countries had principally agreed to hold the Ulema conference in Kabul on March 10.


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