ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday said that General (r) Pervez Musharraf is a state criminal, and that all those who ratified the former army chief’s November 3 emergency rule are also criminals of the state.
Speaking in a talk show on a private TV channel, the minister said that there was a long list of people who backed and authenticated Musharraf’s unconstitutional steps, and made speeches in favour of the emergency rule. He said that all those people, some of whom are sitting members of the assembly, would also be held accountable.
He said that the decision regarding not allowing Musharraf to leave the country came from the prime minister himself. In the same breath, he said that it was not PM’s personal vendetta. “The prime minister had the final say... he made this decision after due consultation.”
Separately, talking to Daily Times, Khawaja Asif said that any form of violence by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would be reciprocated in the same coin.
This statement came as a warning shot on the heels of the expiry of the 30-day deadline by the TTP a few days back. “Nobody wants violence but if we are forced into it, we shall hit back with a befitting response,” he said after his meeting with a top British government functionary on Wednesday. “We want this ceasefire thing to continue working for the restoration of peace. In case this fails, other options are always there.”
The minister’s words came in the backdrop of the media reports quoting the TTP leadership as saying that Pakistani government did “nothing” regarding the TTP’s demands put forward during the peace talks between the government and the Taliban committees.
The reports also suggest that TTP men have threatened that peace talks could be derailed in case their demands on the release of combatant and non-combatant TTP members were not met.
On the other hand, the security establishment has reportedly refused to hand over TTP militants, while it has denied having in possession any non-combatant TTP members, including women and children. The hostile statements from the TTP, Asif believed, were detrimental to the peace measures.
“There have been some hostile statements coming from the other side. This could turn out to be a really serious challenge to the peace measures. But so far, the ceasefire is still intact and no terror activity has taken place. If they (TTP) refrain from resorting to violence, the thorny issues can be dialogued in civilised and non-violent ways.”
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