- PTI chairman says he disagrees with TTP’s interpretation of Sharia
- Claims dollar-dependent lobby has been maligning him with false labels such as ‘Taliban Khan’
Peace talks between the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) will probably fail and a resulting military operation would lead to more violence, said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday.
In an interview with the New York-based news website, Imran was quoted as saying, “The most likely result is that the negotiations will start, there will be about three or four big explosions and terrorist attacks and the negotiations will be called off.”
“There will be people baying for blood and the operation will start,” he claimed.
Speaking about the US drone campaign, the PTI chief said the talks would only be meaningful if America announced an end to drone strikes.
“If the US stops drone attacks, announces stopping the drone attacks during the talks, it would be a big plus point,” he stressed.
He further accused the US of sabotaging an earlier effort at talks with a November 1 drone attack that killed TTP top terrorist Hakimullah Mehsud.
“The US doesn’t want peace talks here or peace in Pakistan while they are leaving Afghanistan,” the report quoted Imran. “The thinking is that if they [insurgents] are engaged here, they would not be going across to fight.”
The PTI head criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for waiting too long after the May election to start talks with the TTP. He said the state negotiation team also reflected lack of seriousness.
“If I was him, I would lead it myself; it’s too important an issue for Pakistan,” he said.
Commenting on why the TTP named him as a negotiator from their side, Imran boasted that they trust him to withstand US pressures.
Stressing that he disagrees with TTP’s interpretation of sharia, Imran said, “Clearly, I don’t represent Taliban.”
He also said that in the nine accords the Pakistan Army had signed earlier with the TTP, there had been no conditionality of imposition of sharia. He said that his consistent assertion that the TTP terrorism was directly the result of the US war on terror has once again been validated as the main demands of the TTP were related to Pakistan, extricating itself from the war on terror and the stoppage of drone attacks.
He said that in this connection, US President Obama’s decision to reduce drone usage because of its negative fallout on the population of the target areas is also recognition of the PTI position on drones exacerbating terrorism in Pakistan.
The PTI head stressed that he had always opposed military action, including the sending of the military into FATA in 2004. He said, “It has always been evident, and never more starkly than today, that the dollar-dependent lobby has been deliberately maligning me with false labels such as Taliban Khan, simply to draw attention away from the clear link between the US war on terror and terrorism in Pakistan.”
In addition, Khan asserted that pro-war political parties – some with leaders self-exiled in the West; others exposed as having taken huge dollar amounts; and still others part of the US-brokered NRO (Condoleezza Rice has claimed her role in this in her book) – were deliberately opposing peace through dialogue with false narratives.
All these parties along with the US dictated narratives stand exposed today, he concluded as he hoped that the dialogue process moves forward and peace comes to Pakistan with an end to bloodshed and hatred.