ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top political leaders, who had huddled together in Islamabad on Monday for an All Parties Conference (APC) on how to tackle growing terrorism, agreed on initiating peace talks with “all stakeholders”.
The APC, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by the Army and intelligence chiefs as well as leaders of all major political parties, concluded after adopting a consensus resolution to overcome the ‘national security crisis’ besetting Pakistan.
After being briefed by the prime minister, the chief of Army Staff and the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on the internal and regional security situation in the country, members called upon the federal government to “initiate dialogue with all stakeholders,” and authorised it “to take all necessary steps, including development of an appropriate mechanism and identification of interlocutors.”
Leaders also observed that previous resolutions passed by Parliament emphasised on “the imperative need to review our national security strategy, in the context of an independent foreign policy, with focus on peace and reconciliation, and to attach the highest priority to dialogue.”
The APC also agreed that the “illegal and immoral drone attacks” carried out by the United States and “the blow-back form actions of Nato/ISAF forces in Afghanistan” are detrimental to peace in Pakistan.
“We declare that we shall ourselves determine the means and mode of fighting this war in our national interest and shall not be guided by the United States of America or any other country in this regard,” it said.
The resolution asked the government to “consider the possibility of taking the drone issue to the United Nations as drone attacks are a violation of international law.”
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan are paramount and must be safe-guarded at all costs,” said the joint resolution. “We reaffirm our complete trust and confidence in our valiant Armed Forces and assure them of our full solidarity and support in overcoming any challenge to our national security or threat to our national interests.”
The meeting also deliberated on the separatist militancy and terrorism in Balochistan, and decided to authorise the provincial government to “initiate the process of dialogue with all estranged Baloch elements.”
“We are cognizant of the troubled situation in the Province of Balochistan and are fully aware of the concerns of our Baloch brothers and sisters,” said the joint resolution. “This meeting authorizes the Provincial Government of Balochistan and its Chief Minister to initiate the process of dialogue with all estranged Baloch elements inside and outside of the country with a view to bring them back to national mainstream.”
Regarding the security situation in Karachi, the meeting called on the provincial and federal governments to address the “continued threat to life, property and business” in the commercial capital.
The meeting was attended by Army Chief Kayani, DG ISI Zaheerul Islam, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, all four provincial chief ministers and governor, and the leaders of all mainstream political parties of Pakistan.
Political leaders attending the conference included Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PT) chief Imran Khan, Jamat-i-Islami (JI) chief Syed Munawar Hasssan, head of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar, Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) chief Pir Pagara, Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Adeel, Balochistan National Party- Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Prior to the conference PTI chief Imran Khan held a separate meeting with COAS Gen Kayani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.