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Nawaz firm on dialogue with Taliban

By Our Staff Reporter 2013-11-09
KARACHI, Nov 8: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday declared that notwithstanding the nomination of a more radical militant leader as the new TTP chief and the group`s announcement to abandon the talks process, his government would continue with the effort to establish a contact with the Taliban with the aim to achieve a lasting peace.

Avoiding any directcomments on the new TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah`s role in the bloody insurgency in Swat and rest of the Malakand region in the past, and his involvement in the recent killingof senior military officials, Mr Sharif said his prime goal was to work for a lasting peace in the region.

`There`s been enough bloodshed, and some say more than forty thousandcivilians and soldiers have been killed in these years of trouble, and therefore the only way out is to speed up the efforts for a permanent peace in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country.

During a meeting with a group of journalists in Karachi, the prime minister was asked if the appointment of Mullah Fazlullah was going to change the dynamics of the peace process, or was the government considering any fresh strategy to handle the situation. Mr Sharif did not give a direct reply. Instead, he went on to talk about the need for a lasting peace, and said this can only be achieved through dialogue.

`We have made efforts in the past, and we will continue to make more efforts to hold talks with all those involved in militant activities,` he said.

`At the moment this looks like the best way to ensure peace, and my sincere desire is that violence ends in all those areas which have been badly hit by violence in the past few years.

ENERGY ISSUE: APP quoted the prime minister as saying said that the PML-N government with massive public mandate is determined to make strong and long-lasting decisions critical for pulling the country out of the present difficult situation.

This, he added, included the energy crisis, which is as important as restoration of law and order.

`For the very purpose we at the very outset adopted a pragmatic approach and successfully addressed the circular debt issue via payment of Rs500 billion,` he said.

Moreover, an energy policy has been formulated under which a series of power plants, mainly hydro and coal based, are to be built.

`These are time consuming and are major projects which, however, have low running cost as compared to solar, wind-mill and other categories of power plants,` he said. The envisaged hydro and coal power projects were scheduled to be completed in three years time, he said.

Mr Sharif said that the crisis be it energy or of any other type had no short-cut solutions and the entire country would have to share the responsibility in meeting the challenges.

`Instead of giving false hope we, besides adopting a pragmatic approach, have. .

attempted to bring on board the masses about the factual situation and interventions adopted by us.

In reply to a question about the fate of Pak-Iran gas pipeline, he said issues of funds were involved besides chances of sanctions. `Yet we are keen to address our energy crisis and would look for every opportunity in the larger national interest.