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Pakistan in talks with some factions of proscribed TTP: PM Imran

ISLAMABAD, OCT 01 (DNA) – Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that his government was holding disarmament talks with some factions of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In an exclusive interview with Turkish media outlet, the Prime Minister said that the Afghan Taliban were assisting the negotiations, however, nothing could be said on the success of the talks at this time.

When asked if the Afghan Taliban were helping in the reconciliation process, he said: “Talks are taking place in Afghanistan. In that sense, Yes.” “I think some Taliban factions want to talk to the government for peace and reconciliation and we are in contact with some of these factions,” Imran Khan said.

To another question, the prime minister said the government can pardon TTP members and they can become normal citizens if they lay down their arms. To a question regarding the talks, the prime minister said that the dialogues are about reconciliation process and if successful, will lead to the government “forgiving” them, “and then they become normal citizens”

The prime minister Imran Khan further reiterated that he doesn’t believe in a military solution to any conflict. “I repeat I don’t believe in military solutions. I always believe, as a politician, political dialogue is the way ahead,” he said.

Earlier in an interview with The Independent, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that the Pakistani government would be “open to giving” a pardon to members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) if they promise not to get involved in terrorist activities and submit to the Pakistani Constitution.

The federal foreign minister told British media that Pakistan was concerned that the leaders of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were being held in jails after the Afghan Taliban took over.

The federal foreign minister had expressed concern over the reports of the Afghan Taliban releasing TTP terrorists. “If those guys come and start creating problems for us over here, it will affect innocent lives and we don t want that,” he said while referring to the TTP.

“If [the TTP] are willing to mend fences and not take the law into their hands and not get involved in terrorist activities and they submit and surrender to the writ of the government and the Constitution of Pakistan, we are even open to giving them a pardon,” Qureshi said. “But as long as they do not come and start undertaking terrorist activities [in Pakistan]. That is our concern,” he added. = DNA

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