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September 10, 2013

All parties agree on talks with Taliban

September 10, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Reposing full confidence in Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s struggle for making the country a haven of peace and a role model for the international community, the All Parties Conference (APC) on Monday adopted a unanimous resolution authorising the federal government to talk to the Taliban for the elimination of terrorism in the country and to take the issue of drone attack to the UN.
Chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the APC was attended by the political and military leadership of the country.The resolution authorised the government to take all necessary steps as it may deem fit‚ including the development of an appropriate mechanism and the identification of interlocutors.
It said the process should be as inclusive as possible‚ with full participation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and other stakeholders.It recommended that the guiding principles should include respect for local customs and traditions‚ values and religious beliefs and the creation of an environment which brings peace and tranquility to the region.
It said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan were paramount and these must be safeguarded at all costs.It reaffirmed complete trust and confidence in the armed forces and assured them of the full solidarity and support of the political leadership to overcome any challenge to national security or threats to the national interest.
The resolution said thousands of precious lives of innocent men‚ women and children and defence and security personnel had been lost in the war on terror, illegal drone attacks and the blowback from actions of Nato and Isaf forces stationed in Afghanistan. It said there had also been colossal damage to the social and physical infrastructure and huge consequential financial losses and adverse effects on the country’s economy.
The participants prayed for the martyrs and extended heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families. They called upon the

federal and provincial governments to provide all possible assistance to these families and other victims of terrorism‚ including internally displaced persons, for their rehabilitation and social reintegration.
The resolution noted with concern the continued use of drone attacks by the US in spite of clear and unambiguous protests by the democratically elected government of Pakistan. It said that the use of drones was not only a continued violation of the territorial integrity of Pakistan, but also detrimental to the country’s resolve and efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism.
The resolution urged the federal government to consider the possibility of taking the issue of drone attacks to the UN, as these were a violation of international law. It declared that Pakistan itself shall determine the means and mode of fighting this war in the national interest and shall not be guided by the US or anyother country in this regard.
The participants noted with grave concern over the continued threat to life‚ property and business in Karachi and appreciated the recent initiative of the federal government to take all stakeholders into confidence and its complete support to the provincial government for restoration of peace and order.
They urged the federal and provincial governments to make sustained and concerted efforts with complete impartiality and dedication for bringing Karachi back to its assigned glory. The participants said they were cognizant of the troubled situation in Balochistan and were fully aware of the concerns of Baloch brothers and sisters.
This meeting authorised the Balochistan government to start dialogue with all estranged Baloch people, both inside and outside the country, and bring them back to the national mainstream.
The resolution appreciated the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and said Islamabad believed a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was a must for a stable and progressive Pakistan. It urged the federal government to make all out efforts for bringing peace to Afghanistan by engaging with the government and the people of Afghanistan.
Talking to the media after the APC‚ JI leader Liaquat Baloch said the JI had been stating from the very beginning that force should not be used for restoration of peace in the country. He said the APC had agreed that issues should be resolved through talks rather than use of force. He said the previous government did not act upon the resolution of parliament. He also demanded an APC on Balochistan.
Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif urged the political leadership to join hands to overcome major issues like terrorism‚ economy and energy.
“We should not indulge in politics on these issues. We should all rise above politics to confront these problems with full force. We should have a national consensus on major issues by keeping aside party and personal interests.”
The premier said elimination of terrorism was a must to make the country prosperous. “We will have to come up to the expectations of the nation by overcoming this menace. Our government gives priority to the dialogue process to resolve this issue. However‚ we will follow the consensus built by the political leadership at this conference,” said the premier.
Nawaz said being the head of a political and democratic government‚ he fully respected and honored the mandate of other political parties. He assured full cooperation of the federal government to the provincial governments to overcome their problems. He said it was matter of satisfaction that all political parties stood together on the Karachi law and order.
The prime minister said the unanimous decisions reached at the conference would go a long way towards strengthening the nation’s confidence in democracy. He said establishment of peace in the country would also strengthen democracy.
Agencies add: PTI Chief Imran Khan advised the government against using the options of dialogue and operation at the same time if it wished to root out terrorism and militancy.
“Using the option of dialogue and military operation simultaneously would not be a statesman-like decision. We must realise that this is not our war which we are fighting,” Khan said. He emphasised the need for holding talks with the Taliban and militant groups and urged the PML-N-led government to adopt a clear-cut policy on drone strikes.
“Missile strikes have increased our enemies. The tribal people are our people, they are patriots and only our policies have turned them into our enemies. These issues can be resolved through negotiations. We should first heal their wounds.”
“We made a big mistake by sending troops to the tribal areas. We must abandon this war and convince our people that this is not our war,” Khan urged the political leadership.Commenting on the APC, Awami Muslim League (AML) head Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Pakistan Muslim League Zia chief Ejaz-ul-Haq said the government had called a selected conference in the name of All Parties Conference.
Expressing his displeasure on a private TV channel, Sheikh Rashid said the government had committed mistake by not inviting him to the conference. He said mere changing of rooms could not bring the desired change because APCs had also been called before.
Criticising the government for not inviting him to the APC, Ejaz-ul-Haq said his party also wanted to help the government against terrorism, but it invited only favorites.He said Maulana Sami-ul-Haq was not a member of the National Assembly but he was called on wish.
Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani‚ Director General ISI Zaheerul Islam Abbasi‚ governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa‚ chief ministers of four provinces‚ PPP leaders Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Syed Khurshid Shah‚ PTI Chairman Imran Khan‚ JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman‚ PML-Q Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain‚ PML-F leaders Pir Sibghatullah Rashdi and Imtiaz Sheikh‚ Jamaat-e-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch‚ Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders Farooq Sattar and Haider Abbasi Rizvi‚ Awami National Party leader Haji Adeel‚ Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai‚ Balochistan National Party-M Chief Akhtar Mengal‚ National Party leader Mir Hasil Bizenjo‚ Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith Chief Allama Sajid Mir‚ Qaumi Watan Party Chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao‚ and Ghazi Gulab Jamal and Abbas Afridi from Fata.

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