‘ANP not taken on board in talks with FATA militants’
* Party leader says reservations remain over direct talks between federal govt, FATA militants
By Akhtar Amin, Daily Times, May 21, 2008
PESHAWAR: The federal government has not taken the Awami National Party (ANP) on board in talks with militants in the Tribal Areas, ANP Senior Vice President Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel said on Tuesday.
Talking to reporters at the Peshawar Press Club, Adeel said the ANP leadership had forwarded the reservations it had over the federal government’s direct talks with tribal militants. He said the party was not taken into confidence over the military operation against local Taliban in Darra Adam Khel a week ago.
He said that such military operations could derail the NWFP government’s peace negotiations with the Taliban in Swat. Being a coalition partner in the NWFP and federal governments, the ANP should be taken on board during talks with the tribal militants, Adeel said.
He said the tribal people were Pashtun and that the ANP could play a vital role in reaching a peace agreement with the Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
He said the ANP government had proved through its talks with the Swat militants that peace could be restored through negotiations and without the use of force.
However, he said that it was not easy to hold talks with the militants, as it could take some time to remove reservations and misconceptions on both sides.