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Govt, TTP talks: We will forgive if they surrender, says PM Imran Khan

About the Pakistani Taliban, Imran says he doesn't believe in a military solution and that as a politician, he sees political dialogue as the way forward

October 02, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said talks are underway with some groups of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to surrender under the reconciliation process.

Imran Khan said this in an interview to a foreign channel, a short teaser of which has been released on social media, and full interview will be aired today (Saturday).

The prime minister can be heard saying during the interview, “Some TTP groups want to talk to us for reconciliation and we are in talks with these groups. The TTP is made up of different groups and we are in talks with some of them to surrender and reconcile,” he said.

Asked about help by the Afghan Taliban in this matter, he said, “Talks are going on in Afghanistan, so it can be said that they are helping. We will forgive them once they surrender, after which they will be able to live like ordinary citizens,” he said.

Imran added, “I do not believe in a military solution. As a politician, I see political dialogue as the way forward, as I said about Afghanistan”. About the TTP’s attacks on the security forces despite the talks, he said, “We are talking, there may be no result, but we are talking.”

After the PM’s announcement, a cessation in hostilities between the TTP fighters in South Waziristan and the army was announced by the outlawed group in a statement on Friday evening.

“Our leaders have asked all fighters to observe a ceasefire from today to October 20,” the TTP statement said. The TTP said that their leaders are engaged in some"secret talks", without elaborating any further, Geo News reported.

Meanwhile, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here. Imran Khan said in the meeting that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was vitally important for Pakistan and the region. He stressed the need for international community’s constructive engagement to prevent humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan and to help build durable peace and stability in the country.

The prime minister underlined that an inclusive political structure was important for stability of Afghanistan. He stressed that positive messages and constructive measures by the international community would help prevent instability and mass exodus of refugees.

Imran Khan expressed satisfaction at the growing cooperation between the two countries. Danish foreign minister reaffirmed his country’s commitment to further strengthen bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to a query about whether Pakistan would offer any support to the US if it goes for strikes against al-Qaeda inside Afghan territory, Qureshi said that as yet no decision has been taken on the matter, but the cabinet would deliberate on the matter.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, while explaining the prime minister’s statement, said that under certain circumstances, families and countless people who have not been able to fulfil their pledge of allegiance to Pakistan want to return to fulfil this pledge.

“More than 3,000 angry people in Balochistan who fell victim to India's plots, have returned. In the same way, there are various groups of the banned TTP, including those who want to fulfil their pledge of allegiance to Pakistan,” he said in a statement.

“Like peacemaker who wants to make peace and move forward in accordance with the constitution: We believe that such people should be given a chance by the state to return to the mainstream of life,” he said.

“The state of Pakistan has gone through extremely hard times. We have sacrificed thousands of people. As a result of these sacrifices, we have defeated terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda in Pakistan and completely eradicated India's anti-Pak plots,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the PPP while expressing grave concern and reservations over the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement regarding talks with the TTP demanded an immediate convening of session of the Parliament on this highly sensitive issue.

“The confirmation of the prime minister's talks with the TTP is shocking and disturbing, and the Parliament should be told who is negotiating with the TTP and with whose permission,” said Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman.

She said the prime minister wants to give amnesty to the TTP. “Has he asked Parliament what we think about that, and has he heard the TTP response,” she asked. “How can you negotiate with the TTP without taking the Parliament into confidence? Who are you to give amnesty TTP alone,” she asked.

Secretary General of the PPP Sayed Nayyar Bukhari said that the Parliament has been bypassed on talks with the TTP. “The nation and the PPP are right in raising the question as to why the parliament and political parties have been kept unaware of the negotiations with the TTP as such measures will create a negative image of the country on the international level,” he said. 

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