NSC decided that there would be no talks with terrorists, militant groups: Sanaullah

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Thursday that the recently held meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) — the highest forum for coordination on security issues — had decided that there will be “no talks with any terrorist or militant group”.

Pakistan has seen a rise in terrorist attacks across the country, believed to have been planned and directed by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders based in Afghanistan.

The TTP, which has ideological linkages with the Afghan Taliban, executed around more than 100 attacks last year, most of which happened after August when the group’s peace talks with the Pakistan government began to falter. The ceasefire was formally ended on Nov 28 by the TTP.

During a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, the interior minister was asked about the explicit threat issued by the TTP to the PPP and the PML-N for “openly declaring war against the TTP to appease America”.

The TTP statement pointedly mentioned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif by name, as well as their respective parties, and warned religious parties against “activities against us”.

Yesterday, the interior minister had stated that efforts were underway to bring the outlawed TTP to the negotiation table but the group would first have to set aside arms and surrender before the law and the Constitution.

During today’s press conference, Sanaullah said that the NSC had clearly resolved that there would be “no talks with any terrorist or militant group”.

He further said that the NSC had concluded that talks, if needed, should be carried out with the Afghan government so that the importance of the Doha agreement, wherein the country had vowed to not allow its soil to be used against others, could be stressed.

“If that is implemented, then the issue of terrorism in Pakistan and other countries will be solved, and Pakistan will be safe if Afghanistan honours its promise.”

The minister was also asked about the Afghan government’s announcement that a network of Daesh militants involved in the attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul had been killed in an operation.

He said that Pakistan had received information in this regard but until it was verified by the interior ministry, it would be treated as mere information.

“If it is so, then we welcome it and it is their responsibility to provide security to officials in Afghanistan.”

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