In his letter dated December 11, 2009, Mr Bashir Malik has raised questions that merit a response from the PTI. Mr Malik questions the rationale of negotiating with the militants, who do not 'recognise the Constitution of Pakistan', and oppose democracy. PTI's stated position is that any negotiations with the militants will only be under the paradigm of the constitution. Negotiations help to isolate the hardcore and mainstream the majority rest. If the government can negotiate with exiled Baloch leaders should we not negotiate with the FATA militants? PTI is one of the few political parties that is actively politicking in FATA. Representatives of most other political parties have fled FATA. Our offer of mediation between the government and the militants is a considered initiative based on the feedback from the PTI's FATA chapter. Peaceful settlement of issues under the 1973 constitution is in our national interest, as greater instability and strife only creates a fertile ground for forces inimical to Pakistan to further their nefarious designs against our country. On the one hand our traditional adversaries including India continue to demand military operations, and on other the hand they support the militants as acknowledged by the present government. According to Gen Aurakzai, former Governor of NWFP, each time a peace accord was reached with the militants, US pressure and drone attacks against the militant leadership derailed the peace process. We oppose US policies since they have ruined our economy and threaten our vital national interests. Please recall that not a single suicide attack by the militants took place in Pakistan prior to 9/11. The more we conduct military operations, the more extremist and terrorist acts. While we continue to plunge deeper into the quagmire, the resultant fallout in the form of strife and instability is portrayed by our allies as justification to depict Pakistan as a 'failed state' that should not be allowed to maintain a nuclear arsenal. The primary responsibility for our present crisis rests with a power hungry dictator and subsequently by an NRO manufactured leadership that insists on pursuing foreign agendas in the region instead of protecting our vital security interests. Rather then 'stabbing the armed forces in the back' by offering to mediate a peaceful settlement, the sole objective of the PTI's mediation initiative is to bring peace, an end to terrorism, and to extricate the Pakistan army and save its invaluable human assets from further harm. OMAR S. CHEEMA, Lahore, December 18.