ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday asserted that the government will not talk to factions responsible for harming Pakistan’s interests, reaffirming that there will be no reconciliation with terrorist elements.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Interior Minister acknowledged that army soldiers had been sacrificing lives in the fight against terrorism, saying that talks would be held with only those groups who would lay down their arms and would abide by the law and Constitution of Pakistan.
However, the minister expressed ignorance about the government starting talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “The Interior Ministry has no role in this talks with the TTP, and if the Taliban are engaged in any dialogue then it is not in my knowledge,” he said.
When asked whether he wanted talks to be held with the TTP, the interior minister asserted that decisions on such matters were taking “at the highest level” by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The interior minister’s stance on the matter comes amid growing criticism by the opposition over the government deciding to hold talks with the TTP and offer some factions of the banned outfit amnesty.
Speaking about other decisions today (Monday), Rashid said that 180 officer of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) have been suspended and 136 others have been sacked from their jobs in the matter related to issuance of fake Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs).
The minister reaffirmed the commitment to purge NADRA of black sheep adding that the incumbent government is trying to extend the services of NADRA to far flung areas.
Sheikh Rashid further said that twenty thousand people from Afghanistan have entered Pakistan since August 15. Online visa service for Afghanistan will be launched in three weeks’ time, he added.