ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran khan has said that dialogues with Taliban is the only solution to end violence in the country. He said that the situation got worst in result of 9-year operation as one Taliban group multiplied into 50 Taliban groups. He said that the US intervention in Afghanistan is the main cause of terrorism in Pakistan.
In an interview with a foreign media ‘Global Conversation’, Imran Khan said that military operations have been a disaster for Pakistan. It’s only added to the insurgency, to the extremism.”
To questions, Imran Khan said “I believe that once the dialogue process was exhausted, then only should operations be a last resort. We have never had a proper dialogue in Pakistan between the political government and the Taliban. This was the first effort and this was doomed to failure because there are about 50 Taliban groups, there are some groups not interested in peace. So the moment the peace talks started, these acts of terrorism escalated.”
He said “Because the majority of the groups are interested in peace talks. So the whole idea was to isolate the ones who are not interested in peace talks from the ones who are interested. If you are 50 groups, surely the war could be won if you can divide them and isolate the real hardliners. At least get the large ones on your side and there was every indication that some of the large groups were willing to talk.”
To another question, Imran Khan said “There is no military solution, neither in Afghanistan or Pakistan. In Pakistan the majority of the groups are talking. So this process hasn’t even started. There were only two parleys between the negotiators and then these terrorist acts happen to sabotage these talks. Now, in my opinion these people should have been isolated – the ones who sabotaged the talks – and there should be an operation against them. But if you go… if we go for a full-scale North Waziristan operation… there are 700,000 civilians that are endangered. They are going to bomb them through the air force, through helicopters, gunships, artillery. Women and children are going to be killed, people will seek revenge. In my opinion it will accentuate, exacerbate the situation. We will have more terrorism.”
To a question, Imran Khan said “The Taliban wanted me to represent them. How can I represent the Taliban? There are 50 groups, how can I vouch for them? So there was no question of me representing them.”
Imran Khan said “ I didn’t know them, I don’t know what they stand for, so therefore we had our representative in the committee, and actually the talks were going well until one of the Taliban groups sabotaged them by killing these soldiers.”
Imran Khan said “isolate the groups that are not willing to talk. So why not go against those Taliban who are responsible, who took responsibility for the killing of the 23 soldiers? Why not go after them?”
To a question, Imran Khan said “The whole motivation behind this militancy was the US invasion of Afghanistan. This militancy started when the Pakistan army, under pressure from the Americans sent the Pakistan army into Waziristan and everything started from there, the collateral damage, drone attacks, the belief that the Pakistan army is fighting on behalf of the Americans, the Jihad syndrome, the suicide bomber. So that’s the motivation.”
Imran Khan said “first of all nothing can justify the atrocities committed by the Taliban, nothing can justify that. But let me just say one thing; in the negotiations so far, the moment the negotiations are within the constitution that means that no one can impose their version of Sharia on Pakistan and that’s been my position throughout, that in Afghanistan and Pakistan the American withdrawal will calm things down in Afghanistan and the moment the Pakistan army eventually pulls out, it will bring things under control and the tribal people will then take over their area.”
Imran Khan said “It’s the only solution. There are, by the way, no simple solutions left. Everything now is complicated. There were easy solutions when there was only one Taliban group eight years back, there are 50 groups today. Extremism has grown, sectarian killing of Shias, by these extreme Sunni groups, that’s grown. So Pakistan is more radicalized today than it was when we entered the war so therefore there are no easy solutions. But if there is massive collateral damage, you’re pushing those people towards militancy and that’s why every military operation has added to the militants.”
To a question on stopping NATO trucks as a protest against US drone attacks, Imran Khan said “the point about drone attacks is that it is counterproductive. All drone attacks do increase militancy and the area which my party governs, the Pakhtunkhwa province, three sides of the tribal area, so it bears the brunt of the revenge attacks from drones and so therefore this was the resolution passed by the parliament, by all the parties, by the federal parliament and the provincial parliament. And the High Court of Peshawar has said that drones are a crime against humanity. The UN resolution has been against drone attacks, Amnesty International has called the drones crimes against humanity, so therefore, this is a protest against drone attacks. All the Americans have to say is that we will cease drone attacks even during the duration of the talks, we will remove the blockade.”
Imran Khan said “people in Pakistan are sinking under the war of terrorism, the country has lost over 100 billion dollars in nine years, and the rupee has gone from 60 rupees to a dollar to 109 rupees to a dollar. Our total debt has gone up three times from about 4.5 trillion to 15 trillion, the total debt of the country in this time, poverty has grown in the province which our government is, 70 percent of the industry is closed, the only business growing is kidnapping for ransom because there is massive unemployment. So we desperately need peace there – and peace is not going to come by keep bombing people, killing the women and children and turning them into militants.”
To another question, Imran Khan said “So far – and we are talking about the tribal belt of Pakistan where this is going on – there is no tribal Pakhtun who has ever been involved in international terrorism, neither on the Afghanistan side or the Pakistan side.