PTI's 'appeasement' policy towards TTP created issues for Pakistan: Bilawal

Foreign minister says Pakistan will "not tolerate" terrorist groups and violators of law

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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari listens to a question during an interview with Al Jazeera on January 18, 2023. — YouTube screengrab/Al Jazeera
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari listens to a question during an interview with Al Jazeera on January 18, 2023. — YouTube screengrab/Al Jazeera 

  • Bilawal censures Imran Khan's "wrong approach" towards TTP.
  • Says Pakistan to "not tolerate" terrorist groups.
  • Reiterates need to engage with Afghanistan Taliban rulers.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Tuesday blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government for creating problems for Pakistan through its policy of "appeasement" towards the outlawed Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). 

During an interview with Al Jazeera, Bilawal termed Khan's approach "wrong" and assured that the incumbent government has put an end to the PTI's approach. 

Bilawal said that the government — in its National Security Council (NSC) meeting with top political and military leadership — decided that it would "not tolerate" terrorist groups in Pakistan and violators of the law. 

Pakistan has witnessed a sharp rise in terrorism incidents, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, during the past couple of months after the TTP announced to end ceasefire with Pakistan.

The Pakistani Taliban, comprising of local fighters mostly, shares some ideological affinity with the neighbouring Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers. 

Islamabad has repeatedly said that Afghanistan's soil is being used against Pakistan, however, the claims have been denied by Kabul. 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has also asked the government in Kabul — without naming it — not to provide safe havens to terrorist groups on its soil.

Despite the Afghan government's ban on women from working in NGOs, the foreign minister reiterated the need to engage with the Taliban. 

“The solution is to engage the Afghan government and try to convince them to live up to their promises to the international community whether it is to do with women’s rights or the issue of terrorism,” said Bilawal. 

The PPP leader ruled out the possibility of disengaging, saying that it is not even an option for Pakistan as both countries share a long and porous border. 

Talking about the attack on Pakistan’s Head of Mission to Kabul Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani, the foreign minister confirmed that he had not called him back home. 

“He was due back for some briefings and dialogues. I hope we will have the security necessary to send him soon,” he said.

Terrorism in 2022

According to the statistics released by an Islamabad-based think-tank, Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the number of militant attacks increased by 44% in December compared to November 2022.

In December, the militants carried out 49 attacks in which 56 people were killed including 32 security forces personnel and 17 civilians.

In these attacks, 81 people also got injured including 31 security forces personnel and 50 civilians.

The report added that December saw the highest number of militant attacks in a single month in 2022.

The PICSS data also shows that the year 2022 saw a 28% increase in terror attacks compared with 2021 which is also the highest during the last five years.