KP patience running thin over delay in Taliban talks
23 October, 2013
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the "continuing inaction" of the federal government in starting "structured talks" with the Taliban as mandated by all the political parties of the country in the all-parties conference (APC).
In a statement issued from his office, the chief minister said the Taliban "continue to point out that there has been no formal offer of talks from the government side and we are also aware of this delay". He went on to add: "Unfortunately, this inaction on the part of the federal government to operationalise the APC resolution and move forward in instituting dialogue is allowing those who wish to sabotage dialogue and peace to indulge in increasing acts of terrorism."
The chief minister stressed the importance of putting in place a structured dialogue so that talks were not conducted through the media, which allowed those opposed to dialogue and peace to spread disinformation. Khattak reminded that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with the provincial government were taking the brunt of the federal government's "vacillation, with increasing acts of terrorism", resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
The call for immediate talks with the Taliban comes after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur was assassinated in a suicide attack on October 16, the Eid's first day, in Dera Ismail Khan District.
"To expose the opponents of peace the APC-mandated dialogue must begin without delay," the chief minister demanded, adding that the prime minister should move immediately on emergency basis to commence structured talks to give peace a chance. The chief minister also pointed to the recent revelations about the unlawful killing of civilians by the United States through drones.
He referred to a BBC news report of last week according to which a UN investigation found that US drone strikes had killed at least 400 civilians in Pakistan, far more than the US has ever acknowledged.
"Today, we have the Amnesty International report on drone killings stating that the US must be held accountable for killings in Pakistan," Khattak stated, adding that this report once again "vindicates PTI's principled opposition to drones from the start of this unlawful CIA operation".
He said the Amnesty report was a damning condemnation of the US drone attacks. "We insist the federal government (should) immediately stop drone attacks," the chief minister concluded.