Pak’s political parties want peace talks with Taliban

Pakistan’s main political parties, including the ruling PPP and opposition PML-N, today called for talks with Taliban to usher in peace and stability in the restive tribal belt and other parts of the country.

A joint communique, which was issued at the end of a conference of political parties convened by the Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam to forge a roadmap for restoring peace, stressed the need for all parties to cooperate for a dialogue with the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The communique backed a proposal for forming a “grand jirga” for negotiations with the Taliban to restore peace in militancy-hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

People from all schools of thought should be given representation in the grand jirga, it said.

The political parties also backed “immediate political steps” to end terrorism.

The communique called on the Pakistan People’s Party-led government‚ the caretaker set-up to be formed to oversee the general election and the government to be formed after the polls to abide by the decisions made by the political parties.

JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the media after the conference that the political leadership had expressed their “complete support” for the grand jirga and agenda proposed by tribal elders to restore peace.

He said the leadership had given an assurance that they would back all steps taken for peace.

This is the second conference of political parties that has backed talks with the Taliban within a month.

On February 14, a similar conference organised by the Awami National Party had emphasized the need to give priority to negotiations with the Taliban to establish peace in the country.