Pakistan

Terror uptick: Imran warns govt against 'attacking Afghanistan'

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Tuesday warned the federal government against making 'dangerous and careless' statements about ‘attacking' Afghanistan. 

The former premier's remarks came during his address at the PTI’s seminar on the resurgence of terrorism.

He also urged the Centre to immediately begin debate regarding the recent uptick in terror activities in Pakistan and include the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government in the talks.

LIVE: KP Govt’s Seminar on
“Resurgence of Terrorism”

Chairman PTI Imran Khan will also address the seminar at 3:30

Link: https://t.co/bNRZjM6dSW
— PTI (@PTIofficial) January 10, 2023

Imran highlighted that the chief minister of K-P – the province most affected by terrorism – was not present at the last meeting of the federal government.

He emphasised that the Centre should have constant meetings, with K-P’s input, regarding the second biggest problem facing the country.

He added that the most casualties will be in the province and if the federal government did not focus their attention on this problem then Pakistan would revert back to past scenarios.

“Terrorism is a very important matter right now and if it is not addressed properly then the consequences can be exacerbated at a time when our economic situation cannot bear them,” he stated, adding that when Pakistan was part of the war on terror, the international coalition funding covered a fraction of the cost of being involved.

He emphasised the importance of staying “neutral” and that he also called for neutrality during the war on terror.

Read Top military brass vows to fight terror amid TTP resurgence

“When dirty water is allowed to stand still, mosquitoes collect over it. We should have remained neutral,” he said.

Imran claimed that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced jihad against Pakistan because it believed the country to be a collaborator of the United States during the war on terror.

“Had we remained neutral these attacks would not have occurred. Their [the TTP] narrative was that Pakistan was helping America, and thus, suicide bombings in Pakistan were jihad,” he stated.

Imran furthered that people called him “Taliban Khan” because they did not understand the situation the way he did after having travelled the tribal northern regions that border Afghanistan.

‘Golden opportunity’

The PTI chief went on to say that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was a “golden opportunity” for Pakistan because, for the first time, there was a pro-Pakistan government at the helm of Afghanistan.

He added that the Taliban government was pro-Pakistan because Islamabad had facilitated talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US, as well as the Taliban and the “pro-India Ghani government”.

Imran furthered that during this “golden opportunity”, Islamabad could negotiate with the Taliban government and reach a “settlement” regarding the return of TTP members to Pakistan. He stated that his government had “regular meetings” about this matter.

Read More Are you with us or with TTP, Pakistan to ask from Afghan Taliban

According to the deposed premier, during the FATA merger, all political parties from all provinces decided to give 3% of their National Finance Commission (NFC) award to FATA to help uplift the region.

“However, after 2018 only the K-P and Punjab governments gave the funds, despite everyone agreeing to the merger,” he said, adding that when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came into power, they stopped the funds because they did not understand that they would have to focus on the TTP’s resettlement into Pakistan.

He stated that his government, during its National Security Council (NSC) meetings would focus on spending the money on TTP resettlement, but that the current government only aimed to end its own corruption cases.

“Pakistan is facing the worst economy in its history, as well as increased terrorism,” he reiterated, once again highlighting that K-P bore the brunt of the danger that came with terrorism.

He warned the government to not mislead the populace with “propaganda” about peace talks with the banned outfit and instead urged all stakeholders to sit together and talk about resettlement.

“Military operations can only be a fraction of the whole peace agreement, but it is never successful. Military operations have their own adverse effects,” he remarked.

Imran also “regretted” the dangerous and careless statements about “attacking Afghanistan” made by “unintelligent ministers with no knowledge of the entire situation”.

“If the Afghan government stops cooperating with us then the war on terror will not stop,” he said.

The PTI chief also questioned why the incumbent foreign minister was not visiting Afghanistan and suggested that ruined relations with the neighbouring country would be a torment.

He furthered that the current “crime minister” (a negative spin on prime minister) criticised Imran when the former premier had said “absolutely not” to allow US bases in Pakistan.

Imran recalled the “more than 400” drone attacks by the US during the previous war on terror, which he stated were carried out during Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.

“The people whose loved ones died would take revenge on us,” he cautioned.

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