December 8, 2023

Dialogue with TTP to take place with parliament’s permission: Rana Sanaullah


Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday said that the military leadership has called for the formation of a committee to ensure “parliamentary supervision” of the ongoing dialogue with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Sanaullah, speaking to the media in Islamabad, said that during the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on Tuesday “unanimous agreement” was expressed over the need for a dialogue to take place with the TTP.
However, he said his assessment was that, at the moment, Pakistan was in a “pre-dialogue” phase with the banned group as it was still under discussion what the nature of the dialogue should be.
The interior minister said violent movements, seen earlier in the world, have reached a conclusion “through dialogue”.
The military leadership has, according to the minister, clearly indicated that it prefers “political consensus” and “political will” to be behind the dialogue. Hence, the parliamentary committee would consist not only of the interior ministry and government officials but also “all political party representatives”. The committee would “monitor” the dialogue between the state and the banned outfit.
This was not the “prerogative of the parliament” but the military had itself expressed these wishes, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader asserted.
Answering further questions on the matter, he said that “dialogue was never rejected” in the past but accepted that an “opinion existed” whereby it was feared that the exercise of building political consensus may be viewed as a “weakness” on part of the state.
“Consensus should not be seen as a sign of weakness,” he added.
Sanaullah also praised the military briefing, describing it as “comprehensive”, saying that “all participants were satisfied”.
The interior minister condemned the arrest of senior journalist and anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan.
However, Sanaullah also said that to propagate “a political party’s agenda without verification” rendered one unworthy of the “protections reserved for journalists and the right to freedom of expression”.
“Were you rented?” retorted the PML-N leader, saying he was perplexed why a journalist would attack someone without verifying the facts.
“You should have known these things when you started [going down this path],” he added.
Calling on journalist organizations, Sanaullah said notice should be taken of a journalist that takes action “on someone else’s request without verification” and termed it an “exploitation” of the position.
The minister also added that he would nonetheless respect the decision of journalists, saying “if they decide in his favour, we are with them”.
The interior minister denied allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan, who has threatened that he would “unmask” all the characters involved in the alleged conspiracy to oust his government if harassment of him and his party did not cease.
Listing PTI’s previous decisions including the sit-in of 2014, political persecution of opposition parties –most notably, attempts at Sanaullah’s own indictment – and corruption allegations, Sanaullah said “if you reveal everything, then you will face no harassment”.
Rubbishing claims that the PTI was being persecuted and the efforts were politically motivated, the minister said only investigations were being carried out probing the former government’s corruption.
He also added that Imran Khan was not experiencing any “harassment” that he had himself subjected the opposition to when he was in power.
“Law will take its due course,” said Sanaullah.

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