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Opposition wants timeline for peace dialogue

04 February, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Major opposition parties in the National Assembly (NA) PPP and PTI on Monday called for a timeline for dialogue with the Taliban to achieve the desired goal of peace and normalcy.

"It is good omen that process is going on. Both the government and Taliban have nominated their committee members. But this process should have certain timeframe for culmination," said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah.

Speaking on a point of order, the opposition leader said it is a good start and "we have no objection to names of the members of both the committees".

"But activities like one happened in Peshawar can sabotage the process."

He said that although the Taliban have stated to have no connection with the Peshawar cinema attack, a "third party" might exploit the situation to sabotage the process.

"This should be looked into. We shall have to look for the third force, if there is any."

Although the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has announced not to become part of the Taliban committee, it has assured that it would facilitate the dialogue process. Shah said it was "welcoming that a politically mature parliamentarian like Imran Khan has been nominated by Taliban for dialogue".

He expressed concerns over Taliban's offer to provide security to the government's nominated team, and said this should be responsibility of the government and not the Taliban.

Referring to five guidelines for holding dialogue, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi also demanded a certain timeline for culmination of the negotiation process.

"We have also mentioned in our guidelines that there should be timeline to make the process result oriented," he said on a point of order.

He said the Taliban did not seek PTI's consent while floating the name of Imran Khan for their committee. "Imran will not be part of committee but the PTI government in KP will support the process and facilitate it."

He said it is better that TTP nominate their own members to make the process meaningful.

"Both the sides have acknowledged the dialogue process and now it is time for ceasefire from both the sides."

He expressed fears that some forces might try to derail the process, adding that they should also be engaged. "We desire peace in the country and for this goal dialogue is a better option". Meanwhile, the NA deferred a bill to further amend the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 on persuasion of opposition.

Taking part in the debate, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said that although the passage of the bill is international obligations, the government has deferred it for further deliberations.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked the government to defer the bill for further deliberation. He said the PTI had not supported the bill in the standing committee. He said a committee should be constituted to develop consensus on the bill.

End.

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