The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday reiterated its support to the ongoing military strikes against the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s hideouts in Wasiristan and elsewhere.
While PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the party’s Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari are abroad these days, the leadership back home has shown by and large restraint in issuing statements with regards to the latest developments vis-a-vis the terrorists.
There has been no statement from Imran ever since he left for London to reportedly spend some time with his two sons, a few days back, though there have been rapid developments back home since then. He is expected to return by Monday on the day the National Assembly as well as the Senate sessions are summoned.
However, Mazari’s only statement was issued on Friday in response to an allegation by leading lawyer Asma Jehangir, who charged Imran was a Taliban informer. In retaliation, Mazari alleged Asma worked for certain external forces against Pakistan.
“We stand by the military in its fresh drive against Taliban,” said PTI’s Deputy Information Secretary Adnan Randhawa, when The News approached him on telephone.
He said his party was quite hopeful that Taliban would soon return to the resumption of dialogue with the government’s committee for the restoration of peace in Pakistan.
Randhawa made it clear that the PTI stood by its demand that the Taliban should first announce an unconditional ceasefire.
Imran has been demanding both the government and the Taliban to announce ceasefire, but the blood-curdling throat slitting of 23 FC men compelled the PTI’s core committee to call for an unconditional cessation of acts by the banned outfit.
This approach is in total contrast to assertive statements issued by Jamaat-e-Islami’s Ameer Syed Munawwar Hassan, who had recently called TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud a martyr, has strongly opposed the use of force by the military and insisted talks should be the only option even these fail a hundred times.
Both PTI and Jamaat lead a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it is widely believed, they have almost identical positions on the option of talks with Taliban. However, the PTI has distanced itself from its most trusted ally by throwing support to the armed forces in their campaign against Taliban. Not long ago, Imran had proposed allowing the banned outfit to open its office in Peshawar and then repeated it on different occasions.
Apparently, Jamaat stands out alone in its strong opposition to the military strikes against Taliban while all the leading political parties have backed the army as well as government in this connection.