ISLAMABAD - Amid terrorist attack in the heart of federal capital political and military leadership discussed the overall national security and the one-month unilateral truce announced by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to give way for the negotiated settlement of the imbroglio.
Ahead of the high-level meeting held under the chair of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif had a one-on-one meeting with the Premier and briefed him on the army’s earlier surgical strikes to quell militancy, particularly in the restive tribal areas.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the high-level meeting held later (after PM-COAS meeting) said that both the military and political leadership was of unanimous view that attacks on innocent civilians would not be tolerated at any cost and security forces would come up with strong retaliation to such attacks.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Zaheeurl Islam, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
The prime minister was of the view that though his government wanted a negotiated solution to the problem but attacks on people of Pakistan and security forces personnel would not be tolerated and government reserves the right to hit back at the hideouts of the militants in response to any disruptive activity anywhere in the country.
Sources in government said that both the political and military top brass took serious notice of the Monday attack in District Courts Islamabad premises and it was decided that government would take up this issue with TTP team of negotiators, as mere expressing dissociation from the incident was insufficient.
Sources informed that some participants of the meeting had doubted the sincerity of TTP toward negotiated settlement of the issue and suggested that Taliban should be asked to help government fix up those involved in disruptive activities even after announcement of unilateral truce by the militants.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz has also called the meeting of government negotiation committee on Tuesday to draw future course of action regarding the peace parleys with TTP backed committee. Sources close to PML-N government said that the PM would give guideline for talks to the committee, which would then put the roadmap for negotiation to the TTP nominated committee to roll on the negotiation process.
Sources further informed that some new members could be included in the negotiation team while backdoor channel, which was already in place, would continue its efforts as well.
The coordinator of the four-member government negotiation team and Special Assistant to PM Irfan Siddiqui has also called the meeting of the committee Tuesday morning to review the TTP’s unilateral decision to halt its activities and later meet with the prime minister to discuss and finalise its strategy for negotiations.
TTP backed committee member Prof Ibrahim and coordinator Yousuf Shah in media chat condemned Monday’s Islamabad attack, terming it a ploy of anti-dialogue forces. Yousaf expressed his optimism about the success of dialogue process saying the both sides wanted negotiated settlement of issue and had decided to observe restrain.
He was of the opinion that the Taliban were not involved in the incident as they clearly expressed disassociation from the incident. He said many anti-state forces are working in the country and security forces will have to dig out those elements in order to establish peace in the country.