ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and ex-premier Imran Khan Tuesday said the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had American weapons the coalition forces had left behind while leaving Afghanistan and the ill-equipped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police could not cope with the terrorists.
Addressing a seminar via video-link on the resurgence of terrorism in Pakistan, Imran charged that the coalition government was not focusing on talks with Afghanistan, as (Foreign Minister) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was roaming around the world but had no time to visit to neighbouring country to find out an amicable solution to stop the resurgence of terrorism and unfortunate incidents at the Pak-Afghan border.
Imran also came down hard on Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah for allegedly issuing irresponsible statements against the Taliban-led Afghan administration in the backdrop of rising terrorism.
The PTI chairman warned that if the new Afghan government decided to stop cooperation with Pakistan, it could lead to a never-ending war against terrorism. He said the ‘government of crooks’ was not serious in dealing with the issue of terrorism and they were more interested in ending their corruption cases due to which terrorism was rearing its ugly head again.
He contended that the government’s non-serious attitude was clearly reflected from the ministers’ irresponsible statements that they were planning to attack Afghanistan.
The PTI chairman warned that another war against terrorism would become a curse for the country if relations with Afghanistan deteriorated.
Talking about the peace talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by the PTI government, he said that his opponents should not lie to the people as all stakeholders had sat down and were informed about the need for talks with the TTP and the plan to mainstream their members.
“Military operations can be part of the overall peace settlement but they never bear fruit. The government should engage with the Taliban to avoid terror activities on Pakistani soil. We had a golden opportunity after the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan; we tried to improve our ties with the Ashraf Ghani government as best as we could and decided not to intervene in Afghan affairs,” he added.
Imran said that when the Taliban assumed power, Pakistan also kept engaging with them, and we helped evacuate foreigners from Afghanistan. He added that the TTP issue could have been solved at that time since the new Afghan government was pro-Pakistan and could exert influence on the banned organisation.
He continued that after the Taliban came to power, they asked the TTP to return to Pakistan and this was the time when peaceful settlement was required the most. However, he alleged, the imported government mismanaged the issue altogether.
The rulers, he said, stopped development funds for the war-ravaged merged tribal areas and even the provinces did not give the promised shares of the NFC Award to the erstwhile FATA, which was once considered the most peaceful region. He noted that creation of opportunities could keep the tribal people at bay from falling into the hands of terrorists.
He paid tributes to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) who came out to streets against terrorism. He pointed out that the federal government did not invite the KP chief minister to the recent meetings of National Security Committee (NSC).
Imran urged the government to brainstorm on the evolving situation, because Pakistan cannot sustain another wave of terrorism.
On the federal government’s criticism of KP government, the PTI chairman made it clear that controlling the borders was the federal government’s responsibility and not of the provincial government.
“I had already said that when you can’t control your economy, you cannot control terrorism. The ill-equipped [KP] police cannot confront the rising wave of terrorism, as the terrorists are well-equipped with modern weapons that the US left behind,” he noted.
“If terrorism is not dealt with seriously, it could have dangerous consequences for the country and that too at a time when our economic conditions cannot bear it at all,” he warned.
He said that the federal government would need to tread carefully and seek KP’s input on the overall terror situation.
Imran lashed out at Bilawal for seeking the US help against terrorism and warned that Pakistan should not seek help from the US as it would lead to internal discord among locals if drone attacks were carried out.
The former prime minister also came down hard on the government for ‘begging’ in front of the world and said that Pakistan’s economy never suffered this much in history as it had now.
Speaking on the occasion, KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan said the PTI has been in power in the province since 2013, noting that all-out efforts were made to ensure lasting peace in the volatile province.
He said that all institutions were destroyed in former FATA and the PTI government was leaving no stone unturned to uplift the tribal districts.
Mehmood protested over not having been invited to the NSC meeting on law and order and regretted that the imported government stopped uplift funds for the merged districts of erstwhile FATA.
The chief minister warned that if the federal government did not show seriousness in connection with its policy against terrorism, then none would be safe in the country from the curse of terrorism. He called for giving the justified financial share to his province.
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