ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Pakistan on Monday invited militant groups including the Taliban for peace talks and said banned organisations would be delisted if they “closed down their militant wings”.
Pakistan has banned more than 30 militant outfits, including al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
“If the proscribed organisations assure us that they have closed down their militant wings and abandoned extremism, then we would like to meet them in next few days,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.
“We have been contacted by several banned organisations that want to sit and talk. If they want to give up militancy we will talk to them as we are revising the list of proscribed organisations,” Malik said.
He did not identify any group but said that the government had “even offered the Taliban to give up militancy and join the federation”.
Mehrangate: Malik says he has ‘solid proof’
Malik affirmed on Monday that he has ‘solid proof’ in the Mehrangate scandal and is ready to take it to the Supreme Court.
Talking to the media outside the parliament, Malik said that the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) should also go to the Supreme Court to prove that it is not guilty.
On the other hand, the PML-N released an official statement on Sunday saying that the allegations against the party in the Mehrangate scandal were being framed on the advice of President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Habib is a special pawn of Zardari which he has used it against Sharifs,” read the statement.
The statement added that Habib’s past is full of fraud, corruption and fake allegation charges, and Zardari should come forward openly instead of playing “such cheap tactics”.
“Habib, on Zardari’s directions, is fooling the nation,” it further said.
The Mehrangate scandal emerged after the Supreme Court began the hearing of air marshal Asghar Khan’s 20-year-old petition in which he stated that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) rigged the 1990 elections by handing out money to several politicians.
Former chief of Mehran Bank Younis Habib appeared before the Supreme Court and had admitted of handing out Rs140 million to various politicians.
Malik displeased with Punjab government’s arrangements
We never chant ‘Go Shahbaz Go’ because we know you were elected constitutionally and through the peoples’ votes, remarked Malik during a media talk on Monday.
Responding to why there was no picture of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah during Istanbul mayor’s visit to Lahore on Sunday, Malik blamed it on the “hatred” of the Punjab government towards the ruling government.
“When I went to Lahore, I saw that there was no picture of the Quaid-e-Azam, the president or the prime minister… Even if you hate us so much, you can bear a heavy heart for some time and put up the pictures of the country’s leadership,” said Malik.
He added that whenever a foreign delegation lands, it should see Pakistan’s atmosphere. “It shouldn’t happen that only pictures of the Punjab leadership are evident.”
“If they are disparaging the president, then they are disparaging themselves… Perhaps, you will be in our place tomorrow,” said the minister.