Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has welcomed the July 7 face-to-face talks between Afghan government officials and the Afghan Taliban at the popular tourist resort of Murree. “The issue of militancy can be resolved only through dialogue,” he said while addressing a news conference at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Peshawar on Wednesday.
Imran recalled that since day one his party has been favouring a negotiated settlement to the issue of militancy. “Even [former US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard] Holbrooke had said that dialogue was the only option to restore peace in the region.”
Imran lamented that the PTI was termed ‘Taliban supporter’ when the party had called for dialogue with militants. “I am happy that our stance was acknowledged across the world and that a dialogue process has been started.”
Responding to a question regarding the Islamic State’s presence in the region, the PTI chief said there would be no peace where people have no access to justice. To put an end to infighting, he stressed the need for reforming the governance system that could ensure dispensation of justice.
Meanwhile, Imran promised all-out efforts for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit people of Chitral. He warned Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s ministers and officials against demonstrating any laxity in relief activities.
The PTI chief announced that a committee has been constituted to review the progress of implementation on the demands of the parents of the Army Public School (APS) victims. “K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser will head the body and report to me.”
Earlier, a special ceremony was arranged for the parents of the APS students who had fallen victim to a cowardly terrorist attack on their school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014.
Regarding the demand for a judicial commission on the APS tragedy, Imran said the federal government’s consent was mandatory for this purpose. “I shall recommend to the centre as well as the Pakistan Army to confer Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Pakistan on the children.”
He also proposed that the K-P government construct a university in memory of the slain children, with their parents included in the board of governors.
On the subject of PTI-backed Mines & Minerals Minister Ziaullah Afridi’s recent arrest in connection with charges of misappropriating Rs140 billion, the party chairman said the Ehtesab Commission was an independent body with zero political interference.
Commenting on his wife Reham’s ‘fake diploma’ issue, Imran termed it an ‘exaggerated non-issue’. Regarding her involvement in social activities, he said she was spending her own money and not the public’s. “She is political, but not active in politics. I wouldn’t have married her if she was apolitical, because only animals are apolitical.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015.