Govt decides to ‘go slow’ on Taliban peace dialogue


ISLAMABAD: In response to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) decision not to extend the ceasefire, the government has decided to ‘slow down’ the dialogue process and adopt the ‘wait and see’ policy, Daily Times learnt on Thursday. 
This development surfaced following a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Security, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. 
The committee decided that dialogue with militants would only be held if held peacefully without terror attacks launched by the TTP, otherwise force would be used, a highly place official confirmed to this scribe.
During the meeting, the PM reportedly said that Pakistan was facing formidable challenges domestically, while far-reaching developments were taking place in the region. He had convened the cabinet meeting for today (Friday) apparently to discuss proposals finalised by the Cabinet Committee on National Security.
In Thursday’s meeting, the committee resolved that all policy options would be explored and all available resources be utilised to ensure peace and security in the country.
Reportedly, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan briefed the participants on the internal security situation. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Rashad Mahmood, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam and Intelligence Bureau Director General Aftab Sultan were present at the meeting.
The committee also reaffirmed the government’s resolve to improve relations with neighbouring countries, making Pakistan an anchor of peace and stability in the region.
Addressing the participants, the prime minister said that the Committee on National Security was an apex forum where every state institution gets an opportunity to provide inputs so that all national security-related decisions were taken through collective thinking.
The committee agreed that national security was of paramount importance for consolidating the economic gains that the government had achieved through sound macroeconomic policies and hard work of the economic team. The trust shown by the international community, especially the international financial institutions (IFIs), in the government’s efforts to kick-start the economy, required an enabling security environment to achieve sustainable economic growth in the coming years, an official statement from the PM’s House said. The committee was briefed on the prime minister’s recent visit to China, especially the Pak-China economic corridor and the $35 billion worth of early harvest projects in energy and infrastructure. 
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar briefed the committee on improving economic indicators and Pakistan’s re-entry into the international bond market through successful launch of $2 billion Eurobonds.
The Pakistan-Afghanistan relations were discussed in light of the recently held presidential elections in Afghanistan. The committee congratulated the Afghan people on the successful elections and resolved to strengthen democratic institutions in Afghanistan. The Pakistan-India relations with special reference to the ongoing Indian elections were also discussed. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan briefed the participants on internal security situation. Various aspects of the internal security were discussed threadbare, including talks with the TTP, situation in Balochistan and situation on the western border.
The committee reiterated the government’s resolve to improve the internal security situation, which was critical to economic and social development. It was resolved that all policy options would be explored and all available resources be utilised to ensure peace and security.
The committee endorsed the vision to put Pakistan on the crossroads of opportunity rather than conflict to spur growth and prosperity of the people, the official statement said. According to the press statement, the security committee also discussed the crucial issue of release of Taliban prisoners. During the meeting, the ISI and IB DGs briefed the committee on the security situation in the country, and Aziz gave a briefing on Pakistan’s policy with regards to Afghanistan. It was reportedly decided in the meeting that Pakistan would not interfere in Afghanistan and would support whoever was elected in the presidential elections.

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