After opposing a military operation in North Waziristan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) has called for forming a commission for holding talks with militants.
The proposal was floated by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman during the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting.
The proposal comes in the backdrop of Pakistan and Afghanistan working together for pursuing a peace process and engaging in talks with Taliban ahead of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The military, political and religious leadership should be engaged to form the commission on the pattern of Pakistan-Afghanistan peace commission,” JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman told The Express Tribune. The commission, Fazl proposed, “may chalk out a strategy to persuade the militants (in this regard) and bring different factions of extremists active in areas bordering Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas to the negotiating table.”
“It is time to hold talks with militants. Guns won’t solve anything in the war against terrorism,” Fazl said.
The proposal was also intimated by the JUI-F chief during his separate meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif on Friday.
Fazl, who is also the chairman of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir, is reported to have informed them about the upcoming All Parties Conference on Kashmir, which is scheduled to be held next month in Islamabad.
Earlier, the CEC meeting focused on militants’ attempts to target the JUI-F chief in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and a fresh warning issued by the ministry of interior against holding public meetings due to the same fears.
The policy being pursued for conducting military operations in volatile areas has failed in eliminating terrorism, said Fazl. The government, he said, should engage religious scholars to accelerate efforts for peace, adding that he had already discussed the matter with various scholars.
“We will back the Awami National Party’s (ANP) efforts for peace, its bid to stop insurgency and also to hold talks with disgruntled militants in tribal areas,” he told The Express Tribune.
He said that proposals for a joint commission could be discussed in consultation with members of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
He said that he had recently met the secretary-general of the Wafaqul Madris, Hanif Jalandhri, who was recently nominated as a member of CII and discussed various issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2011.
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