Islamabad, June 22 (PTI): Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership were on Wednesday apprised the Afghan Taliban were facilitating talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban militant group and that any settlement with the rebels would be contingent on the approval by the parliament.
A high-level meeting of national security, presided by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by the top military leadership, was held in the parliament house where lawmakers were briefed about different issues related to national security.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the institutions “responsible for national security” briefed the committee on the overall security situation of the country.
It said that the meeting was apprised of internal and external threats and the measures being taken by the agencies to handle the security situation.
The meeting was informed that talks were underway with the TTP, facilitated by the government of Afghanistan, in which a government-led committee comprising civil and military representatives was negotiating within the framework of the Constitution of Pakistan.
“The decision in this regard will be made in the light of the Constitution, and with the approval of parliament, which will also provide guidance for the future and strike a consensus on the matter,” the meeting was told.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the meeting decided that talks with the TTP would be held only under the framework of the Constitution.
“The talks [with the TTP] will be taken forward under the guidance of parliament,” he added.
The talks with the TTP began last year, resulting in a temporary ceasefire, but no solid headway was made and clashes resumed between the security forces and the rebels.
However, after several behind-the-scenes meetings, including some attended by the former ISI chief and current Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, progress was reported and the TTP on June 2 announced an “indefinite ceasefire”.
There are serious concerns about the talks as the TTP was involved in several incidents of carnage like the Peshawar school attack and the killing of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
The national security meeting also briefed the participants on the administrative matters regarding the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, according to the statement.
The participants were informed that Pakistan had played a very responsible and positive role in peace and stability in the neighbouring country.
“Pakistan will continue its constructive role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. It is hoped that the territory of Afghanistan would not be allowed to be used against Pakistan,” the statement added.
It was stated in the meeting that Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the war against terrorism were recognised by the world and the unparalleled sacrifices of the Pakistani nation and the armed forces helped bring normalcy back to the country. “There is no structure of organised terrorism in any part of Pakistan.” According to the statement, the political leadership expressed satisfaction over the strategy and progress made in dealing with the issue. PTI SH PY PY
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Source: The Print