Peace talks: ANP wants militants to form ‘empowered’ delegation

Published: January 27, 2013
For any talks to be carried out, militants ought to constitute an empowered team, says K-P information minister. PHOTO: FILE

For any talks to be carried out, militants ought to constitute an empowered team, says K-P information minister. PHOTO: FILE

For any talks to be carried out, militants ought to constitute an empowered team, says K-P information minister. PHOTO: FILE ANP’s senior leadership attends slain leader Bashir Ahmed Bilour’s chelum at Nishtar Hall, Peshawar. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The ruling Awami National Party (ANP) on Saturday sent out a message asking militants to constitute an ‘empowered’ team for holding talks with a panel of political parties.

“For any talks to be carried out, they (militants) ought to constitute an empowered team,” provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told participants of a gathering convened at Nishtar Hall to observe the chehlum of slain minster Bashir Ahmad Bilour, who was targeted in a suicide attack on December 22, 2012.

ANP is currently trying to muster support for an all parties conference (APC) to discuss strategies to combat militancy and negotiate with militants. Hussain, however, said militants must have a say in their respective groups for the talks to be successful.

He reiterated his party would again reach out to those who had not “fully” responded to earlier invitations. While Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) have publicly turned down the offer, Hussain said the invitations had been accepted by some parties and others had not yet submitted a “full reply”. He, however, chose not to single any party out. “Those who have faith should join us for the APC.”

The slain minister’s brother, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour delivered an emotionally charged speech.

“Militants claim they are standing up for Islam. Is Islam not followed in North Waziristan, Bajaur, Swat and Tirah?” questioned the railways minister referring to militant onslaughts in the area. “I ask the Taliban to settle for talks. We will forgive the blood of our Pashtun children, if no more blood is shed.”

About the proposed APC, Ghulam Bilour said: “We have extended the invitation not just for ourselves, but for the whole nation, to get rid of the scourge of terrorism.”

“We will avenge the death of Bashir Bilour by winning the upcoming general elections,” he said, as party activists punctuated his speech with charged slogans.

“People cannot be hoodwinked by slogans to vote for the Book (Holy Quran) anymore,” added Bashir in an apparent jibe directed towards the ruling era of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in K-P. “Today, these well-to-do Mullahs can be seen moving around in Land Cruisers, but they do not raise their voice against the killing of innocent people.”

The late minister’s son, Barrister Haroon Bilour vowed to fight the prevailing conditions with courage and to stand by the party through all tribulations.

Banners honouring Bashir Ahmad Bilour adorned the walls of the hall. The senior minister, who was also the parliamentary leader in the K-P Assembly, was known for his vocal stance against militants. He was said to be the first to condemn terror acts and assure victims of counteraction. Party stalwarts, including Senator Afrasiab Khattak, Senator Zahid Khan, Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel and K-P Assembly Speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmati along with others were also present.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • dr.shoaib
    Jan 27, 2013 - 7:18PM

    I have gone to waziristan and being doctor i have closely observed militant psychology. They will never agree to drop guns because they have two options. Either they continue kidnapping for ransom and earn millions monthly and lead luxurious life with fanne fame and power in their area or if they drop guns,then they to become labourers,veghitable and fruits sellers and shoes polisher on roads of pindi if they drop guns. They are neither educated nor doctors nor eminedss engineers to get high jobs. They will continue kidnappingr for ransom in the name of islam and all peace effororts will fail because dropping guns means they will opt for halal rizaq on pindi roads and that is now very difficult for them to sell fruits on roads because they neither MA/MSc nor they doctors nor they have property or business. They will continue fighting till they are crushed by a good military operationRecommend

  • Jan 27, 2013 - 7:58PM

    Unlikely the mullahs will do anything to change the status quo – they are getting money and power…


  • janan
    Jan 27, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Talk with these animals. what an absurd idea. for sake of Islam, please kill these forces of Shaitan once and for all. These talks will only give relevance to TTPs killing of more than 40000 pakistanis.


  • Toba Alu
    Jan 28, 2013 - 3:59PM

    Since when can you be a little bit of a terrorist? No negotiations!Recommend

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