Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday that the dialogue option with Taliban must be pursued though there were elements who wanted to disrupt the talks.
Answering questions at a joint press conference with U.K. Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Mr. Aziz said elements supporting those who were hostile to Pakistan or trying to weaken it could be from across the border. There were indirect indications that some groups of the Taliban were receiving support from outside, he said without specifying who the elements were. The All Parties Conference had already discussed the issue of talks and the first option was to have a dialogue, he added.
Responding to questions on the Indian Prime Minister’s statement at the United Nations recently, Mr. Aziz said the Indian agenda was to focus on terrorism from Pakistan but the reality was that terrorism had killed 40,000 people in Pakistan. The issue of Indian “interference” in Balochistan was mentioned during the meeting of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan at the U.N., he said. India had demanded proof and Pakistan would present it in due course at the right forum, he added.
Earlier, at a media briefing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered a new beginning in south Asia to India and that terrorism was a matter of concern for both sides. The Directors General of Military Operations would contact each other soon and hopefully there would be a resumption of the composite dialogue, he said. He added that Pakistan had clearly articulated its policy on Kashmir as well as on terrorism. Regarding the report that Indian-made weapons were found in Karachi in the office of a political party, he said this and Balochistan were issues that needed to be discussed.
On the release of Taliban leader Mullah Biradar, Mr .Chaudhry said he was released and “our hope is that he will take part in the peace talks”. “I think he is in Pakistan,” he said not confirming if he was in a safe house.
Meanwhile, as the prospect of talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban and other militant outfits has dimmed after a spate of terror strikes in Peshawar and in Upper Dir, which killed two senior army officers, Mr. Sharif has directed that lacunae in anti-terrorism laws must be removed to ensure that culprits involved in terrorist activities were fairly punished.
The Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting on the Anti-Terrorism Legislation on Thursday, a PMO statement said. “There should be no loophole in the anti-terrorism laws which allow terrorists to get away with dreadful crimes. We need strong, transparent but stringent laws to cope with the menace of terrorism. The required amendments must be finalized as soon as possible,” Mr. Sharif said.