Among the participants of the All Parties Conference (APC), some leaders, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, questioned the military authorities and asked them to explain the exact security situation of the country vis-à-vis recent American allegations.
“Where there is smoke there is fire,” Nawaz Sharif was quoted by some participants as saying while asking Inter-Services Intelligence chief Shuja Pasha for a detailed explanation.
The situation is said to have prompted Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to intervene and assure the PML-N: ‘we will respond to all of your queries’.
Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao proposed that a ‘mechanism’ has to be developed in order to pursue the “peace and reconciliation” with all elements, ostensibly even militants, endeavoured for in the joint resolution. Sherpao, chief of his own political faction known as Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao welcomed the initiative saying that the resolution adopted during the APC would “add a new chapter” in our history. “The leadership of the country has shown unity and underlined the need to lead the country towards peace,” he added.
“Every leader expressed his point of view, which has been translated into the resolution,” he added.
He said that there should be people-to-people contacts with Afghanistan, which should run parallel to government-to-government contacts.
While responding to a question regarding implementation of the resolution, he said that, for that purpose, a parliamentary committee would be constituted to monitor progress, since leaders had expressed their reservations on this account.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had shown resentment over continuous use of the military option without taking any political initiative.
After the meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the political leadership of the country had rejected allegations of the US. He said that the leaders of the country had “put their weight behind the army”.
Haider Abbas Rizvi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said that, during the course of the meeting, the internal situation of the country was thoroughly discussed.
“In order to have a firm foreign policy a strong internal policy is needed,” he said.
Rizvi said that it has been decided that we will overcome our shortcomings and peace and reconciliation would be pursued with all the stakeholders. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of JUI-F welcomed the initiative saying “it (the resolution) would give a strong message to the world.”
However, he added a stern warning: “If this resolution is not implemented again, then no one would be able to stop a revolution in this country.”
Syed Munawar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami also welcomed the initiative.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2011.