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November 12, 2013

Nisar terms martyrdom controversy poisonous

National

November 12, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said the peace dialogue process cannot move forward until the drone attacks ended.
“The latest drone strike was a serious setback to the peace process but we will review the situation in the next four to six weeks to pick up the pieces again. The drone attack was not against an individual but on the dialogue process. The government had laid the foundation of the peace process brick by brick but the United States has tried to scuttle the initiative,” he said while winding up the debate on the drone attacks in the National Assembly on Monday.
He said the controversy over who was a ‘martyr’ and who was not was poisonous for the country.Prior to his speech, the interior minister held a meeting with leaders of the parliamentary parties in which it was agreed that a fresh resolution seeking an end to the drone attacks was not necessary.
Chaudhry Nisar cautioned that there were enemies as well as friends like enemies that were advancing their own agenda in a cloak and dagger‘martyr’ had begun targeting the Pakistan Army. He rejected the allegation that the Pakistan Army was acting at the behest of the United States in the war against terror.
He clarified that despite provocative actions like killing of senior army officers‚ the armed forces contributed fully to ensuring a conducive atmosphere for holding of dialogue. “The Pakistan Army was fully on board in the dialogue process,” he added.
The minister said that Pakistan was passing through a delicate phase requiring complete unanimity of views and consensus on the strategy to deal with the challenge of terrorism and militancy.
He said conflicting interests were at work and it was the duty of parliamentarians to safeguard the interests of the state.He expressed satisfaction that the House had demonstrated a consensus that the dialogue process should continue and the drone strikes should come to an end in any case.
Chaudhry

Nisar informed the House that the United States had conveyed to Pakistan that the concerned drone strike was not an attempt to scuttle the peace process. He said the government was sincerely pursuing the dialogue process and the other side too wanted formal talks.
The interior minister pointed out that Pakistan had good working relations with the Karzai government and the United States had been seeking Pakistan’s support for establishing a contact with the Afghan Taliban. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would visit Afghanistan next month for talks with the Afghan president.
He said the Pakistan government had no favourites in Afghanistan and it wanted the reconciliation process there to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
Chaudhry Nisar said in today’s meeting with the parliamentary leaders, they discussed the time-frame and strategy for the dialogue.He said previously a suggestion was made that Pakistan should talk separately to each group but this proposition was not entertained, as it would have created an impression that the government was trying to create a rift among the Taliban groups.
The interior minister categorically stated that the dialogue process would not move forward if the drone attacks continued. “Pakistan has conveyed its concern to the United States and their reaction has been shared with the parliamentary leaders,” he said and added that there would be more debate on the issue during the next two days.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on the basis of evidence as to who was behind the attack on a church in Peshawar and other places, the other side was told that no formal delegation would be sent until and unless the bomb blasts were stopped.
He said there were people on the other side as well who still believed in the dialogue process. “But at the same time it was not possible that we continue to offer a dialogue while the other side says no,” he added. He said there should be no doubt that the government and political parties had fully resolved to defend every inch of Pakistan and its frontiers and provide security to our citizens.