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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Saturday said that some “small remnant groups” leftover, after the Afghan Taliban defeated the Afghan NDS, India’s RAW, and 42 international forces, wanted to create an atmosphere of terror in Pakistan, which will be dismantled.

Speaking at a news conference, the interior minister said that there has been a “deadlock” over negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) due to its unacceptable conditions. However, he once again invited the militant group for dialogue under the umbrella of Pakistan’s national flag as per the Constitution.

“After the Taliban takeover [of Kabul], and they guaranteed that Afghan soil will not be used against Pakistan. The Taliban also played a role as a bridge with some of the TTP’s groups [for talks]. But TTP forwarded such conditions that could not be fulfilled. So, our doors remain open, if it [TTP] is willing to come under the law, the constitution of Pakistan and our national flag,” he said, adding that no talks were held with the Daesh, and that recently-formed Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA) is a small group.

At the same time, the interior minister stated in categorical terms that if the TTP continues to wage a war against Pakistan, then it would be battled. “Today, the environment there [in Afghanistan] is not against Pakistan, but now the Taliban are there [in power], for whom [PM] Imran Khan himself is in contact with every country, and would also be speaking in the upcoming OIC meeting, to get their [Taliban] problems, including the humanitarian crisis addressed,” he added.

“In fact, after the Taliban’s defeat to the NDS, RAW and 42 international forces that were fighting in Afghanistan, subsequent to that small remnant groups, are trying to create an atmosphere of terror in Pakistan; they would be defeated,” the interior minister said.

He said that Pakistan’s security institutions are fully prepared to curb terrorist activities in the country. “The incidents like Lahore blast cannot shatter our determination and morale,” he said, adding that investigation into the incident is under way and the perpetrators will be held accountable to law. He said that that he is not aware whether BNA has claimed responsibility of the Lahore incident or not.

He further stated that two terrorists of TTP were killed in Islamabad on January 18 and same action would be taken against anyone who will try to spoil the peace of the motherland. “We have found our way to six members of the TTP after the terrorists were killed in Islamabad,” he added.

“Our nation paid heavy price for peace restoration in the country and no one will be allowed at any cost to spoil it. We have sacrificed more than 80,000 lives and suffered an economic loss of around US$ 150 billion for this purpose,” he added.

Referring to the speculations about Presidential system in the country, he said no such move has been discussed in the cabinet. “Rumours regarding the presidential system and imposition of emergency are spreading, but no such proposal has been laid before the cabinet,” he added.

The interior minister expressed the hope that Prime Minister Imran Khan will complete his five-year tenure and the current opposition will not succeed in any “undemocratic” move. “Prime Minister Imran Khan is lucky to have an incompetent opposition…those who believe that the government will leave, have lost their minds,” he maintained.

Responding further to the opposition’s expected move with regard to the no-confidence motion against the prime minister, he recalled that 15 members of the opposition were missing when the government recently passed the ‘mini-budget’, adding that there would be 25 members missing when any such attempt was made.

He also urged the opposition to postpone its long-march of March 23, saying that the OIC’s council of foreign ministers will be held on the same days in Islamabad and many roads would be blocked prior to that for security reasons.

“They [the opposition] may organise their rally four days before or after the OIC moot,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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