The recent spate of deadly violence has called into question the government’s strategy of tackling the scourge of terrorism through dialogue. Rumours started making rounds that the government might gave in to increasing pressure from opposition parties and civil society and review its strategy. However, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reiterated on Sunday that the government’s priority was dialogue.
In a policy statement, the minister said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself wished for a peaceful settlement of the issue, which was also endorsed by the political and military leaderships at the Sept 9 all-parties conference in Islamabad.
He said the government appreciated the efforts of the country’s religious leaders and clerics for supporting a permanent solution to the issue of terrorism. Wafaqul Madaris – a conglomerate of Deobandi madrassas – recently offered to mediate between the government and the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The government would extend full support to the clerics for this purpose, Chaudhry Nisar, without naming anyone.
The minister also sought to quash rumours that the military did not condone the government’s counter-terror approach. The dialogue process has the full backing of the military leadership, he said. “I’m sure the way the army is ready to protect the country’s borders and the lives of its citizens, it also wants to see the peace process successful.”
The prime minister, according to Chaudhry Nisar, has repeatedly said that the use of force must be avoided for establishing peace in the country. “Even in his first address to the nation, the prime minister had expressed the same sentiments.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2013.