Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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No dialogue with Taliban before arms surrender: Pakistan

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Islamabad: Pakistan will not initiate a dialogue with the local Taliban unless they lay down their arms and give up terrorism, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said today amid reports of secret negotiations between the government and militant groups.

Any move by the Taliban to end its war voluntarily will be welcomed, Malik said while speaking to reporters along with British Home Secretary Theresa May at the Police Lines Headquarters here. Malik asked the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to surrender their weapons and to refrain from “playing into the hands of the enemy”.

Pakistan had suffered losses of billions of dollars in its war against terror and the international community should realise this war was being fought to protect the world from the ravages of terrorism, he said. Pakistan and Britain share a powerful interest in fighting extremism and terrorism that threaten people in both countries and across the world, he said.

Responding to a question about the activities of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed who has been blamed by India for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Malik said Saeed had been freed by a court.

There is democracy in Pakistan and the courts are free to decide independently, he contended.

Though Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks, he was freed about six months later on the orders of the Lahore High Court.

Asked about the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, Malik said it was Pakistan’s responsibility to hunt down his killers, who had tried to disrupt peace initiatives and damage bilateral ties.

Referring to recent meetings between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, he said both countries had decided that Pakistan would help Afghan authorities in investigating Rabbani’s killing. (PTI)

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