Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb Friday confirmed that the government was negotiating a peace deal with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), saying that the government level talks had been in progress since October last year.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister said that both the civil and military representatives were part of the delegation holding talks with the TTP and that negotiations were being held under the purview of the Constitution.
The minister also confirmed that the Afghan Taliban government was acting as a mediator between the two sides.
She said the talks with the TTP would be concluded with the government’s approval.
The information minister said that Pakistan welcome the ceasefire announced by the TTP, adding that whatever would be decided in the negotiations will be ratified by the parliament and the coalition government.
Earlier on Thursday, the TTP had announced an indefinite ceasefire with Pakistan. A truce previously agreed until May 30 for the Islamic festival of Eid had been held until now.
Lashing out at Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan over his anti-Pakistan tirade, Aurangzeb said that it was not freedom of expression but hate speech against the Constitution and the country.
She said that talking about the division of the country was in fact projecting the enemy’s agenda.
The minister said that Imran’s statements were against the constitution and an open attack on the federation.
Speaking about the current hike in the prices of petroleum products, Aurangzeb said that the government was taking concrete steps to mitigate the impact of the recent petroleum price hike.
“The government took the decision of fuel price hike with a heavy heart,” the minister said, adding that the government would provide Rs2000 to 14 million poor families, who have their income below Rs40,000, to protect them from the impacts of price hike.
She said families registered in BISP will also be receiving additional two thousand rupees.
She said deserving people can call at 786 to check their eligibility status for relief package.
The decision of price hike of petroleum products was taken beyond of politics, she said adding that the government would announce an austerity drive very soon.
She said common people are under burden of price hike due to imprudent decisions of previous government.
The minister criticized the previous PTI government for inking IMF agreement with harsh terms and conditions.
Responding to a question, she said government is taking steps to bring Charter of Democracy to draw some red lines for upcoming governments.
She said government will hold a conference on Tuesday in this regard and all stake holders will be present there to discuss the matter.