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September 26, 2013

Govt should set up Taliban office: Imran

September 26, 2013

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said the government should announce a ceasefire and establish a Qatar-like office for the Taliban in Pakistan to carry forward the peace process.
He said the proposed talks with the militants should be given a chance to restore peace in the country as it was the best option to move forward.He was talking to reporters at the Lady Reading Hospital after inquiring after the health of those injured in the suicide bombings at the All Saints Church in the Kohati Gate locality of Peshawar that killed 84 people and left over 100 injured.
The PTI chief said the political leadership at the all parties conference (APC) had unanimously proposed negotiations with the militants and the government should hold talks with all the militant groups to address the issue of terrorism.
Imran Khan, who among others was accompanied by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, provincial assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Member National Assembly Ayesha Gulalai and minority MPA Sardar Soran Singh, said the use of force was no solution to the problem.
He said the government had been fighting against the militants for nine years but the military operations didn’t yield the desired results.“What have we been doing for nine years? We conducted several military offensives against the militants, but it didn’t make any difference,” he said. He added that despite numerous operations against the insurgents, militancy and extremism had increased.
“We can continue the war for another nine years but we should first give dialogue a chance to restore peace,” he stressed.Imran questioned that if the US could hold talks and open an office for the Taliban in Qatar, why Pakistan could not do so.
“We have been stressing the need for holding a dialogue since the very first day because we believe that war is no solution to any problem,” he added.To a query, he said at least 50,000 innocent people

in Pakistan have been killed in the so-called war on terror so far. He said the all parties conference had mandated the government to talk with the militants and, therefore, the government should go ahead with this process.
“The APC proposed talks because we are fighting against the militants for several years, but the problem still exists,” he argued while defending his resolve to hold talks with all the militant groups.
Imran said the people voted them to power to bring peace and not to wage a war. Responding to a question, he said the fighting between the government and militants had continued and it was not possible to hold talks and continue fighting at the same time.
The PTI chief lauded the quick response and medical services being delivered by the doctors, nurses and other staff at the LRH to the victims of the recent blasts at a Peshawar church.
Without naming anyone, he said that 210 suicide and bomb attacks occurred during the term of the previous government in the province. He alleged that certain politicians and political parties were playing politics over the blood of innocent people and trying to politicise the incident.
Imran Khan asked the federal government to take all the political parties and stakeholders on board before devising any future strategy on the future of dialogue with the militants to make the process successful.
Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak said the PTI workers and volunteers had donated 400 bags of blood to save lives of victims of the twin blasts at the church. He said the health minister was daily visiting the hospitals to monitor the treatment facilities being provided to the injured.

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