ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday told the National Assembly that the recent killing of a Pakistan Army general, a colonel and a soldier in Dir blast caused a serious setback to peace talks with Taliban.

“This incident caused a serious setback...Give us time and space, as national sovereignty and dignity will be protected at any cost,” the interior minister assured the House, while sharing the developments on peace talks with the Taliban and the Karachi operation.

The Dir blast was claimed by the Taliban.

Nisar asked the political parties not to politicise this sensitive issue. “Don’t propose us different ideas as suggestion are shared on table. If everyone starts giving proposal it could cause hurdle,” he underlined.  He lauded the bravery of Army officials who embraced martyrdom in Upper Dir’s sad incident.

About the Karachi action, Nisar said that the federal government is in consultation with the provincial government and other political parties almost on a daily basis.

“Almost 10 per cent work has been done,” he said, adding that this action was not only limited to Karachi as criminals were also arrested from other parts of the country.

Nisar said that this process was started with a joint policy. “Whosoever will try to create hurdles will be exposed before the nation,” he warned.

About the Karachi action, he said the first phase would be completed in a couple of days. “In the second phase, process will be further enhanced, and the third stage will be most important,” he informed.

About the Muhajir Republican Army, he said that it has no connection with the MQM. “It has connection somewhere else,” he said, without elaborating.

Nisar further said that the Rangers have conducted 400 and police over 1,000 operations in Karachi. Around 250 persons have fled from Karachi to North Waziristan, he said.

The House consumed most of the time on debate on the sixth address of former president Asif Ali Zardari to the parliament, and also witnessed a walkout by MQM lawmakers over power outages in Hyderabad.  Inviting reaction from MQM legislators, a lawmaker, Kamal Khan, said MQM chief Altaf Hussain should return to the country so that the issue of Karachi could be handled mutually.

“Benazir Bhutto, despite information about attack on her, returned to the country,” he added. On it, MQM’s Sajid Ahmed said that the decision about Altaf Hussain’s return to the country is in the hand of party workers. “There is no need to talk about MQM‘s chief, as we are not criticising anyone,” he said, adding that Altaf Hussain has the status of a spiritual father for them.

Taking part in the debate, PPP’s lawmaker Abdul Sattar Bachai said that former president Asif Ali Zardari during his term made efforts for strengthening democracy.

“Asif Ali Zardari had given powers to the parliament,” he added.

PTI’s lawmaker Arif Alvi, on a point of order, said that there were lacunas in the proposed voting system for the overseas Pakistanis. “How other countries will give permission on it,” he wondered.

He said that the US Embassy is planning to expand its function so the government should seriously see this matter.

A young PPP legislator Imran Zafar Leghari said that because of PPP, Nawaz Sharif was elected prime minister for a third time.

He further underlined that there is a need to take cognizance of law and order issues in Punjab. “Why the authorities concerned are not addressing the Punjabi Taliban issue,” he said, adding that Asif Ali Zardari would now start politics.

On her turn, PML-N’s senior MNA Tehmina Daultana said that the political parties had struggled for the restoration of democracy and now there is a need to be united against issues currently facing the country.