Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the dialogue between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban’s committees is progressing effectively and has the support of the army.
Speaking with the media in Ankara, he said the government is aware of elements trying to sabotage the process of dialogue particularly after the TTP’s statement that it was not involved in the recent bombing of a cinema in Peshawar.
The prime minister said the TTP has taken notice of such incidents of violence and is as anxious as the government to conclude the process of dialogue on a positive note. There should be no deadline imposed on the talks, he added.
The PM is in the city to attend the four-day 8th Trilateral Summit, themed around the subject of ‘Sustainable Peace in the Heart of Asia’.
PM Nawaz said Pakistan would not allow anyone to use its soil against any country. He also spoke of a vision of a peaceful and prosperous region defined by close relations with all Pakistan’s neighbours, including Afghanistan. Pakistan freed Mullah Baradar in order to aid the High Peace Council in holding effective talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, he added. He also said that Afghanistan has assured Pakistan that it will look into the question of Afghan involvement in conflict in Balochistan.
Discussing Pakistan’s relations with its neighbour in the east, Sharif said, “Pakistan has asked India to settle the issue of Kashmir through a third party’s mediation.” He added that he had also discussed the issue with US President Barack Obama. Sharif said India and Pakistan need to form a mechanism regarding the Line of Control and meetings with the Directors General of Military Operation in both countries had not resolved the issue. Pakistan has suggested that an impartial inquiry by a body like the United Nations could resolve the issue of firing incidents on the LoC, he said.
During the summit, the Pakistani premier is set to have extensive interaction with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai. Senior members of the prime minister’s delegation will also have meetings with their respective counterparts in trilateral formats.
Separately, PM Sharif will meet President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, with their talks focusing on economic cooperation. Minister for Defence and Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Chairman Board of Investment Miftah Ismail Ahmad, parliamentarians and other high-ranking military and civil officials are accompanying the PM on this trip.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2014.