Interior Minister Rehman Malik invited the Taliban on Sunday to prove themselves Pakistanis by renouncing violence and sitting across the table with the government for peace talks.
“Standing in the historic city of Lahore, I urge the Taliban to come and join us in pursuit of durable peace instead of violence for our future generations,” he told journalists outside the Governor House.
Responding to a query regarding sectarian groups involved in violence, Malik said if such organisations seek forgiveness, there was no harm in giving them a chance.
Asked about the possibility of granting citizenship to illegal immigrants, he said the matter would be taken up, adding that all immigrants would be offered relief according to the country’s law.
He added that all such immigrants who entered Pakistan illegally – whether they hailed from Afghanistan or Bengal – their stay was illegal until a decision was made by the government.
When quizzed about the petition of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan in the Supreme Court, Malik said he would not speak on the issue since the matter was sub judice. However, he added that the interior ministry had enough material in the Mehran Bank scam.
Malik said the FIA was in possession of the documents recovered from the Mehran Bank, asserting that Younus Habib was convicted in the light of these documents.
The minister dispelled the impression that any conspiracy was behind the Asghar Khan case, asserting that the PPP had always been a victim of conspiracies in the past as false cases were registered against President Zardari and Benazir Bhutto by Saifur Rehman in the 90s.
The minister said that the elements who became a party in the Memogate scandal must also go the Supreme Court in the Asghar Khan case.
Regarding former president Pervez Musharraf’s red warrant, Malik said the government had communicated the court orders to Interpol, adding that the PML-N wanted a treason case to be registered against the former dictator and he had offered the PML-N leadership to lodge a formal complaint against Musharraf since the PML-N government was toppled by him.
He said the government did its duty but no such complaint was lodged by the PML-N.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2012.