ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday asserted that Pakistan was in talks with some factions of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for disarmament as the government seeks stability in the country with the evolving Afghan situation.
“I think some of the Pakistani Taliban groups actually want to talk to our government. You know, for some peace, for some reconciliation,” the Prime Minister said while talking to TRT World in Islamabad.
Can Pakistan PM Imran Khan convince the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to lay down arms? Here is what Khan had to say in an exclusive interview to TRT World’s Ali Mustafa in Islamabad pic.twitter.com/sHgWX66A1Y
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When asked whether Pakistan was actually in talks with the banned outfit, PM Imran clarified that talks were ongoing “with some of them”. “Afghan Taliban are helping, in the sense that the talks are taking place in Afghanistan,” the premier added.
The Prime Minister further said that these talks, for disarmament, if successful, would lead to the government “forgiving” them, and then they become normal citizens. “I do not believe in military solutions. As a politician, political dialogue is the only way forward, which I always believed was the case in Afghanistan with the US,” he added.
The interviewer then asked why the TTP was conducting attacks on Pakistan’s security forces when they were in talks with the government. To this, the premier said it was just a spate of attacks. “We might not reach some sort of conclusion or settlement in the end but we are talking,” he added.
The premier noted he always believed that a non-military solution was the only way forward for Afghanistan — and he has reiterated it time and again on national, international forums.
The Afghan Taliban took over Kabul in mid-August, and since then, the country remains in turmoil, with Pakistan continuously urging the international community to support the newly-formed government in a bid to avert a humanitarian crisis, which might lead to instability in the region.
Earlier in September, President Arif Alvi had suggested that the Pakistani government could consider giving an amnesty to those members of the TTP who had not remained involved in “criminal activities” and who laid down their weapons and agreed to adhere to the Pakistani Constitution.
Such an amnesty could be one of the ways to “establish peace”, the president had said. His remarks were followed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressing similar sentiments in an interview on Sept 15.
The foreign minister said the government would be “open to giving” a pardon to members of the TTP if they promised not to get involved in terrorist activities and submit to the Pakistani Constitution.