Nisar denies report about army on Taliban

ISLAMABAD: Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday rejected a report by a foreign news agency that army chief General Raheel Sharif conveyed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a recent meeting on security that ‘time for talks with Taliban is over’.The minister termed the contents of the report as ‘nonsensical and farcical’. “This is not the first time that this news agency has come up with whimsical and distorted reports about civil-military relations,” said a statement issued by the Interior Ministry. He said the meeting was held in a highly ‘congenial and positive atmosphere’, in which wide ranging issues pertaining to national security including situation on the borders was discussed.Nisar said that no decision for a full-scale military offensive in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region was taken. “There was no decision to call off the dialogue process with Taliban, nor was any such demand made from either side as reported by the news agency,” he said.The current state of airstrikes and limited military action, Nisar said, is in continuation of the already taken decision that any act of violence or terrorism against civilian or military targets will meet a calibrated and measured response.Nisar said that no decision has been taken to hand over the security of Islamabad and other major cities to the army nor is National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) involved in this whole matter in any manner, as has been reported in a section of press.He said what is being misconceived and misinterpreted is an effort by the government to strengthen the capacity of the police and other civilian law enforcing agencies through the support, input and coordination with the armed forces.“This is in no way a recent decision and the whole process is being fine-tuned for quite some time. Since this entire exercise is still under consideration and discussion, it is too early to pass judgments, as a press report has done, as to what form and ultimate formulation this coordination will take,” he said.

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