The debate over who is a martyr and who is not is extremely damaging for Pakistan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said on Monday.
Speaking in the National Assembly floor, Nisar said any kind of controversy related to the armed forces was “worse than poison” for Pakistan at this critical juncture.
Criticising former president Pervez Musharraf’s “misuse of the army”, Nisar said the forces were not an individual, but an institution, and in case of Taliban talks, the military had exercised great restraint and created an environment conducive to talks despite ongoing terrorist attacks.
Describing the initial process of dialogue prior to the drone attack in which Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed, he said the TTP had demanded face-to-face dialogue, to which the government had demanded an end to terror attacks.
He said there had been no attacks for three weeks following this exchange, after which the government moved to advance the talks. He added that there was no guarantee at the time the talks would have succeeded, but a detailed plan was in place to get the provinces and more political leaders involved in the process.
“Now we have to pick up the pieces,” Nisar lamented, adding that the government would have to analyse how the next four-six weeks played out.
The dialogue process with the TTP cannot move forward if there are more drone attacks, the interior minister added.
He also claimed that there were still stakeholders interested in continuing the dialogue process, despite the devastating impact of the drone attack that killed the TTP chief.
Nisar’s statements on martyrdom were directed at the brewing controversy over Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hassan calling Hakimullah Mehsud a ‘martyr.’
Many politicians criticised the JI chief’s remarks and members of the Sindh Assembly even passed a resolution against him on Monday.
The army had also issued a press release in which it demanded an “unconditional apology’ from Hassan.
“Syed Munawar Hassan has tried to invent a logic based on his political convenience. Strong condemnation of his views from an overwhelming majority leaves no doubt in any one’s mind that all of us are very clear on what the state of Pakistan is and who its enemies are,” a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said.