Despite setback to peace talks with the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said his government was firmly resolved to bringing the cycle of bloodshed and violence to an end.
Addressing the army after a field exercise in Bahawalpur, he said democratically elected government took its own decisions and Pakistan’s military strategy was based on credible minimum deterrence.
Speaking after the drone strikes which are believed to have killed TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, he said the government has made its position clear that drone strikes constituted a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, are violative of international humanitarian laws, besides being counter-productive to efforts for peace and stability. Mr. Sharif said it has to be understood that economic development is closely linked to peace and security and in his recent visits abroad, he made it very clear that he didn’t want financial aid. He said the government preferred to invite the Taliban to engage in an all-encompassing dialogue but the desire for peace should not in any way be construed as a weakness. Unity among all stakeholders including political parties, the military, the executive, the judiciary, Parliament and the media, was important and no one wants any further bloodshed, he said.
He reiterated that Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and wants stability in the region without compromising on sovereignty. Historically, Pakistan and India have kept themselves busy in an unnecessary arms race using resources that could have otherwise been used for people’s welfare. While the government is concerned with the tension over the Line of Control and the recent skirmishes between the two forces, yet Mr. Sharif said his Government took the initiative back in 1992 and now again to extend a hand of peace towards India. Meanwhile after the outburst against the U.S. last week, interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly that the dialogue process with the TTP had to be kept afloat. It was easy to have a military operation but the government was working day and night for the last seven weeks to ensure the peace process was on track and just a day before a formal invitation was to be given to the TTP leader, the drones had struck. The minister spoke before briefing the federal cabinet on the internal security situation.