The government has finalised a framework that outlines the dialogue process with the home-grown Taliban, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference on Tuesday.
Although he did not share with the media details of the framework, officials familiar with the provisional draft told The Express Tribune that the process would entail five to six stages.
First, a committee will be formed to prepare the ground for negotiations. All major political parties will be represented on the committee, which will pick out possible mediators, they said. The committee will keep the military in the loop throughout.
After the mediators are picked, the committee will seek input from representatives of militant groups. Then, a venue for the talks will be decided with consensus – this will mark the final step towards the start of dialogue.
However, interior ministry officials said the venue will be in Pakistan. A ‘neutral’ venue will not be acceptable to the government, they added.
At the news conference, the interior minister said, “The decision to hold talks with militants is homemade and is free of any foreign pressure, intervention or influence.
“Those who demand action against the Taliban should know that violence begets violence. Pakistan is in search of peace.”
Nisar did reveal that the first meeting with militants’ representatives will determine the demands from both sides.
Speaking about Monday’s all parties conferences (APC), he said: “This conference was different from the previous APCs because it enabled the political parties to come to a unanimous resolution on important issues.”
Asserting that all politicians who attended the APC believed that dialogue was the only way forward, he said a lot of homework had gone into holding the conference successfully.
Law and order in Balochistan, Karachi
The interior minister said another conference would be called to take up the issues in the strife-torn Balochistan. “An APC or an APC-like conference will be convened in Quetta,” he added.
Giving details of the Rangers-led operation in Karachi, he said the paramilitary force has arrested at least 158 suspects and seized 111 illegal firearms. Similarly, the Sindh police has arrested 516 criminals in 78 raids, general holdups and snap-checking. “A majority of criminals claimed affiliation with different political parties.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2013.
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