Sherpao says TTP must be negotiated with

Published: May 8, 2013
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Blasts ANP for missing peace opportunities and failing to deliver good governance.

Blasts ANP for missing peace opportunities and failing to deliver good governance.

ISLAMABAD: 

Although he has himself survived three suicide attacks – one while he was campaigning in the 2008 elections – Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao believes the only way to restore peace is to negotiate with the Tehreek-e-Taliban. In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, the leader of the Qaumi Watam Party blames the ANP and PPP for having missed several opportunities to do so, saying they should have reached out to the Taliban in the larger interest of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its people.

“The TTP had suspended its activities in Pakistan for a considerable time after the 2008 elections,” said the former K-P chief minister. “Perhaps they were waiting for a peace proposal from the new coalition government,” he said, adding that the ANP did not avail that chance and instead ‘provoked’ the Taliban.

But how fair is it for him to lay the blame at the doorsteps of the parties who have themselves been the biggest targets of the terrorists. “In real terms, the ANP took no practical steps for the restoration of peace in KPK. Now they are raising a hue and cry and asking other politicians to help in talks with the TTP,” Sherpao said while adding that the ANP is exploiting the current attacks to hide its own mistakes.

As for his own campaign, he admits that he has to be very careful in light of the threat of terrorist attacks. “While we have addressed late-night election rallies in Swat, election activities in Charsadda, Mardan , Nowshehra and Swabi are rare due to the danger of violence.”

Once again pushing for peace talks, Sherpao said he would join hands with any party for the cause.

“We can join JUI-F or any other party to open peace talks with the TTP,” he said, adding that, “the United States is using the good offices of Pakistan for a peaceful end to the war in Afghanistan and we are not taking any step to bring peace back to our own country.”

He suggested that talks with TTP should be initiated soon after the May elections. “The next government should primarily concentrate on the restoration of peace and stability in the country as its top priority,” he said.

He also added that no one party would be able to dominate K-P in these elections, and that a coalition government would be formed. “JUI-F may emerge as a major party in K-P,” he predicted. With Sherpao’s QWP having allied with the JUI-F in Swabi and Buner, he is clearly looking forward to joining them in the next K-P government as well. However, he completely writes off the ANP and PPP’s chances. “They have miserably failed to deliver in the past five years,” he said dismissively.

About the PML-N he predicted that it will face a tough time at the hands of the PTI in the Hazara division, a place that had been a strong hold of the PML-N in the past .

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Usman
    May 8, 2013 - 6:40AM

    Sohail, a comedian on TV, once said at a wedding: “People ask me, who will you vote for, he said, Imran Khan. But the people said, he talks things which no one understands, Sohail said, Imran Khan’s fault is that ‘o sab to akheer aali gal pehle ke denday ne’ ”
    .
    Welcome to 5 years ago Sherpao Sahab.

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  • May 8, 2013 - 8:52AM

    Mr. Sherpao, nobody can negotiate with a gun at his head. May be, the Taliban have given you ‘clay feet.’ Their way of life is such, and very few come out of the mold in which they are born. Salams

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  • Roni
    May 8, 2013 - 9:39AM

    Sherpao should understand it that no matter what he does he cannot be the Taliban favorite like the two rightwing leaders of Punjab who have never been attacked by TTP while all the others who are in their way are massacred.
    The reason Fazal was attacked is that he is in the way of PML-N and PTI victory in the two smaller provinces. With Fazal and Sherpao contesting the rightwing votes would be divided and the two fav sons of Punjab would have no chance in the other three provinces. Hence TTP are not going to forgive you unless you withdraw in favor of either of their fav party.

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  • BILAL
    May 8, 2013 - 9:44AM

    @Usman:

    True That.

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  • Ali
    May 8, 2013 - 10:27AM

    A simple suggestion to Aftab sherpao. Instead of making false claims thru media and posing himself as the neo-nationalist saviour, he should simply take out the data regarding his governance when he was 2 times chief minister of KP, and interior minister (under dictator), and compare it with what ANP has done., and make a claim.

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  • nathan hale
    May 8, 2013 - 10:27AM

    Truly ironic ladies and gentleman ! Wasn’t there like suicide attacks on this guy himself during mushraff’s rule….i don’t get it, where do you find these people from pakistan !?

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