A crucial APC

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The nation expects a unanimous stand

Last month, the ANP which had suffered most from the terrorist onslaught took the initiative to call an All Parties Conference to evolve a joint response to the TTP’s offer of talks. That this was done within weeks of the killing of party’s senior minister Basher Ahmad Bilour was a display of statesmanship on the ANP’s part. The conference was attended by 25 political parties and the only significant absentees were Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf. The JUI-F which had earlier voiced reservations about the moot joined the talks at the last moment. The APC appreciated the efforts of the Grand Tribal Jirga for restoration of peace in FATA and assured the people of tribal areas that all the parties who participated in the conference stood with them in their struggle for peace. There was an agreement that peace must remain the first option and the issue of terrorism should be resolved through talks in the ambit of constitution, law, security and sovereignty of the country. The TTP rejected the APC resolutions calling the declaration as “old wine in a new bottle”. It maintained that the non-participation of the Jamaat-i-Islami in the APC was also a clear indication that the conference was a failure.

What made the TTP to launch the idea of talks at the end of December was pressure from the tribal areas where people are fed up with militancy on the one hand and the military operations and drone attacks on the other. Tens of thousands of tribesmen have been consequently forced to seek shelter in settled districts with relatives or in camps set up by the government. It is high time an all out attempt is made to end to terrorism and insurgency.

The APC called by JUI-F on Wednesday is an important conference. For the first time all the three parties the TTP wants to act as guarantors are attending the meeting. The JI was has been brought around by Maulana Fazlur Rehman while the PML-N has nominated a powerful delegation. The parties attending the conference carry a heavy cross. They have to ensure that the parameters for peace over which there is a national consensus are not compromised. The militants must be required to abandon violence and accept the constitution, law and sovereignty of the country. What is more the TTP has to guarantee that all organisations under its umbrella abide by the final agreements. The PML-N is already being accused of having close ties with the LeJ. The position taken by it will either negate or confirm the suspicions. The TTP wants to divide the major political parties. The nation expects them to take a unanimous stand in conformity with national consensus on the rejection of terrorism.