Tuesday Nov 09, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has criticised the PTI-led government for entering into an agreement with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), alleging that the Parliament was not taken into confidence over the move.
Consequent to the peace agreement, the banned outfit declared a one-month ceasefire starting November 9.
"No one was taken into confidence on the issue of talks with the banned TTP and no consensus was reached in this regard," said Bilawal, speaking to Geo News.
"I had earlier criticised the talks with the banned TTP and I will do it again today."
The PPP leader also called into question the relevance of the president and the prime minister, saying that "who are they to hold talks with the TTP".
Bilawal lashed out at the banned outfit, saying that it had martyred Pakistan Army soldiers and the children of the Army Public School (APS).
Bilawal said that the Parliament will approve all policies related to Pakistan, asserting that such policies will be adopted through the consensus of all political parties.
Peace talks began and both sides agreed on a ceasefire: Fawad
Informing the media about recent developments in the peace talks on Monday [November 8], Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that the government and the proscribed organisation agreed to a complete ceasefire.
The Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan has played the role of the mediator in the peace talks, the minister revealed.
“The government-TTP talks will be held in accordance with the laws and the Constitution of Pakistan,” said Fawad, adding that the ceasefire would be extended keeping in view the progress of the talks.
“It is gratifying that the areas of Pakistan [where the Taliban operated] are moving towards absolute peace after a long time,” he said.
Expressing surprise over Fawad Chaudhry's statement, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security briefing did not say that an agreement between the government and the TTP had been reached.
"[At the national security meeting,] we were told that there is an offer or possibility of talks. We have not been briefed that an agreement has already been reached with them," the PML-N leader said while speaking in the Geo News programme 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath' on Monday.
"The consensus of the [national security] meeting was that any such agreement should be approved by the Parliament alone."
He also censured the government, saying, "The government makes decisions which we come to know from the international media."
He also threw barbs at Prime Minister Imran Khan saying the Leader of the House remained absent from the important session. Iqbal alleged that the premier does not consider the Opposition worthy enough to sit with him.
The spokesperson for TTP had earlier said that the ceasefire could be extended with the consent of the parties involved — the TTP and the government — while both parties should abide by the rules of the ceasefire.
The banned TTP said that the group has agreed to set up negotiating committees, which will try to move forward with the next course of action as well as the negotiation process on the demands of the parties.
According to the banned TTP, the Afghan Taliban are playing the role of a mediator in the negotiation process.
The PTI-led government had earlier asked the banned TTP to lay down their arms and surrender, sources within the Afghan Taliban informed Geo News on Friday.
According to the sources, Afghan Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani is playing a key role in ceasefire talks and is working to make negotiations between the PTI-led government and the banned outfit a success.
Per the sources, the chief of the banned TTP, Mufti Noor Wali, is leading the talks from the group's side.
However, the banned outfit had maintained that it would be "too early" to lay down arms and has demanded the government release their members from prison.
The government has not reacted to the demands of the banned outfit yet, the Afghan Taliban sources said, adding that negotiations could be successful if strong guarantors are provided and the outfit's conditions are accepted.
They added that while some factions of the banned TTP are in favour of holding talks with the Pakistani government, others are still taking a hardline approach.