Tackling Taliban: How is Pakistan Doing?

‘Militants working as instrument of anti-Pakistan forces’
The News, October 22, 2008

PESHAWAR: Provincial president of Awami National Party (ANP) and peace envoy of NWFP government Afrasiab Khattak on Tuesday said that militants carrying suicide bombing are not doing any service for Islam.

He added that they in fact have become instrument of enemy forces striving to destabilize the elected democratic government in the country. Afrasiab expressed these views while addressing a ceremony arranged by Peace Foundation, an NGO, for distribution of cheques among some victims of suicide bombings in NWFP. The ceremony, held at Frontier House, was to be chaired by Chief Minister, Amir Haider but he could not attend the function due to an emergency meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad.

“Islam is a religion of peace and propagates the message of peace, but the militants are behaving totally against the teachings of our sacred religion,” Afrasiab Khattak said and added NWFP and especially Peshawar city were the headquarters of Gandhara civilization which also propagated message of peace to other parts of the world.

Pukhtoons, he said, are peace-loving people and the founder of ANP, Bacha Khan practically proved his ideology of `non-violence’ during their fight against the colonial rulers. Ironically, he continued, some vested elements have started causing disturbance in the province and are bent upon to attain their nefarious designs. These elements, he held, are pushing us back towards backwardness and illiteracy by forcing students for not going to school and other educational institutions. Afrasiab said earlier these elements created same situation in Afghanistan and according to some reports, he added, about three lac girl students could not go to schools in Afghanistan this year. The present government, he said, is striving to control the situation by taking action against the insurgents. He said earlier government made agreements with militants and faced all sort of internal and external pressure for continuation and success of the agreements.

“But the militants want to form a parallel government by setting up separate courts and other institutions which cannot be tolerated,” he said adding action was ordered against the culprits only after they violated the law and agreements signed by them. He said government was still ready for holding talks with those militants willing to renounce militancy and lay arms. He urged the masses to extend support to government in its fight against the militants and insurgents.

Earlier, MPA Alamzeb Khan addressed the ceremony and stressed the need for unity to fight militancy and insurgency. Chairman Peace Foundation Maqsood Ahmad Salfi also threw light on his organization’s efforts to maintain peace and help suicide victims. Afrasiab Khattak distributed cheques worth around rupees four lac among the victims of different suicide attacks in NWFP.

Also See:
Body formed to evolve national security policy - Daily Times
Taliban threats force artists to move to safer areas - Daily Times
Security forces capture Taliban stronghold - Dawn

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