Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Sunday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should lead the dialogue process with the Taliban and seek a US assurance that it would not carry out drone strikes during the talks.
“There must be no drone strikes, if peace talks start,” Imran said, adding that the predator attack that killed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud had sabotaged the peace process.
Addressing a news conference in Nowshera, Imran asked the government to tell the nation what policy it had chalked out after Hakimullah’s death. “The government should also explain how it would take both the nation and the Taliban into confidence on dialogue,” he demanded.
The PTI chief said Premier Nawaz should ensure his presence in the country which is passing through a critical stage. “There is no need for foreign trips,” he said, adding that no foreign investors would invest in Pakistan until peace was restored.
Imran claimed that after nine years a political party had raised voice for negotiation and restoration of peace in FATA. “The American lobby in Pakistan doesn’t want peace on this soil,” he said, adding that those who were being funded by foreign elements had termed him ‘pro-Taliban’.
He said the PTI would not let NATO supply container trucks pass through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. However, he dispelled the impression that blocking the supply lines meant waging war against NATO. “We just want to convey to NATO member states that when the Pakistani nation tried to restore peace in their country, the US scuttled it through drone strikes,” he added.
About corruption in the K-P cabinet, Imran said people voted the PTI to power in K-P because it promised them restoration of peace in their areas and end to corruption. “Action would be taken against any corrupt minister whether he is from the PTI or any other coalition party,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th,2013.