All Parties Conference for talks with Taliban
15 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: An All Parties Conference (APC) organised by the Awami National Party (ANP) on Thursday called for dialogue with the Taliban to establish peace in the country.
A joint statement issued at the end of the conference stressed the need for tackling menace of terrorism through dialogue within the ambit of constitution, law, security and sovereignty of the country.
Recognising the militancy and violence as a problem not limited to one party, one province or one area, the conference believed that survival and progress of the country depended upon finding relevant solutions to the problem.
A sustainable democratic and political process will help in dealing with the problem in the longer run," the statement noted.
The participants stressed the need for restoring peace in the country so that loss of precious lives could be stopped and the country be put on a track leading to economic and social development.
The conference appreciated the efforts of the Grand Jirga for restoration of peace in FATA and assured the people of tribal areas that all parties who participated in the moot stood with them in their struggle for peace.
The APC prayed for the martyrs who lost their lives in terrorism incidents and expressed condolence with their families. It also acknowledged the sacrifices given by the leaders and members of the political parties.
The conference demanded from the central and provincial governments to announce aid packages for relatives of the victims of terrorism.
It urged the government to give priority to the problems faced by the people displaced because of terrorism so that they could go back to their homes with honour.
The conference unanimously appreciated the efforts of the ANP and its president, Asfandyar Wali Khan, for convening the APC on an important national issue. The participants believed that this initiative is just beginning of the process. They said ANP and the rest of the political and religious parties will continue to consult with each other for future line of action.
A total of 27 political parties and lawyer organisations participated in the conference. The Pakistan People's Party, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam were among the major parties that attended the conference. Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf and Jamaat-i-Islami, however, distanced themselves from the conference.
Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar told the conference that negotiations should take place with only those who accept the law, constitution and national writ of Pakistan.
ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said the objective of the conference was to unite the nation against terrorism on one platform.
"The menace of terrorism is not the problem of present government only, rather it will also be a problem for the coming governments," he observed. He said that terrorism is affecting whole the country and it needs to be tackled rather than escaping from it.
Wali said next general election is fast approaching and the issue of terrorism would not be done away with the holding of elections. "The governments will come and go. What we require to do is to strive for the bright future of the people of the country," he noted.
The ANP chief said draft recommendations to tackle the menace of terrorism will be forwarded to the President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
The idea of the APC was initiated by ANP after the assassination of its leader and senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour in December last year in a terrorism act.