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ISLAMABAD: The All Parties Conference (APC), called by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, which was scheduled to be held today (Tuesday), got postponed and it will be held on February 9 (Thursday) with a view to ensure participation of all the political forces, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to take a unanimous stance with regard to countering terrorism, besides dealing with the economic challenges.

Without citing any reasons for the postponement of the APC, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the APC, called by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to discuss the issues related to terrorism, will be held on February 9 instead of February 7.

In a tweet, the minister said that all political forces have been invited to attend the APC. “The APC will formulate a joint strategy to deal with the issue of terrorism and all the challenges faced by the country,” she said.

PM invites IK, others to APC on terrorism, economy

She further said that the APC will also review the National Action Plan. A 20-point National Action Plan, which spells out the specifics for countering terrorism and extremism, was approved on December 24, 2014, by the Parliament in wake of the December 16, 2014, Army Public School (APS) terrorist attack in Peshawar.

Following January 30, 2023, terrorist attack in Peshawar Police Lines, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to bring all the political forces to the APC to exchange views on the surge of terrorism and chalk out a “consensus” policy to deal with the pressing challenges.

In an effort to develop consensus on the issue, the prime minister has also extended an invitation to PTI Chairman Imran Khan through Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq who had contacted former speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and ex-defence minister Pervez Khattak to convey the prime minister’s invitation to the party chairman.

The PTI had refused to accept the invitation, citing the arrests of the party leaders and cases against them.

However, sources within the PML-N said that the APC was rescheduled following the PTI expressed flexibility to attend the meeting after consultations if a “formal” invitation is extended.

In a tweet, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the party would hold consultations on attending the APC if formally invited.

“(PM) Shehbaz Sharif called the All Parties’ Conference on the issue of terrorism and through the media invited Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to join it. But, till now, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has not received any invitation in this regard. If a formal invitation is extended, we will hold consultations with regard to our participation,” he said in a tweet.

The PML-N sources maintained that the government will also present its economic roadmap before the country’s political leadership and the outcome of the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will share the working paper with the APC participants which included the measures aimed at dealing with the economic challenges.

The sources maintained that the APC’s date and the venue was changed on the PTI’s demand and now it will be held at the Parliament House in Committee room number 2 instead of the PM House.

They said that the military leadership will brief the participants on the issue of terrorism while Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan on the latest contacts made with the Afghan interim government about Pakistan’s expectations not to allow the Afghan soil to be used by terrorist outfits, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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