Afghan authorities requested Pakistan to initiate talks with TTP: Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the interim Afghan government had requested Pakistan to initiate talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The banned TTP late Monday declared a one-month ceasefire, starting from November 9, hours after the information minister announced that the government and the militant outfit had agreed to a complete ceasefire.
The state must talk from a position of strength with the militant outfit, the information minister said, during his post-cabinet meeting press conference today.
He said that talks with the TTP would be in line with the constitution.
“TTP is not an organisation, it has several groups […] and talks with them would be successful only after they accept the constitution,” the information minister said.

Chaudhry said the state had gone to war to establish peace in the country and through negotiations, it now wanted to permanently bring peace.

The information minister said the people living in merged districts wanted peace as the new generation had a changed perspective after witnessing their fathers’ and grandfather’s lives — which were spent in war.
“It is the state’s responsibility to bring peace.”
Chaudhry said peace was the ultimate goal of the government as it did not want instability in the areas where the TTP had a stronghold — and that is “what we are trying to do”.

The information minister said speaking in detail about the agreement would be premature.
“First, the ceasefire will come into force, and after that we will analyse and see how can we take the talks forward,” the information minister said.
Chaudhry said the new set-up in Afghanistan wanted peace in Pakistan. His remarks come ahead of acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi’s visit to the country.
The acting foreign minister is set to make his maiden visit to Pakistan on  Thursday (November 11), Chaudhry said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan had said that matters related to the economic crisis in Afghanistan and ease in visa regime would be discussed with the Pakistani authorities during the visit.
Chaudhry said Pakistan has decided to establish a special fund to support Afghanistan and Islamabad was ready to everything it can to help the Afghans during their hard times.
Three hundred million Afghans are suffering from malnutrition, children are being sold for rice and pulses, he said, stressing that the situation in the neighbouring country could not be overlooked.
Taking a jibe at the Opposition, he said they would have to wait for a year or two, and after that, they would have to wait for another five years, as they have no programme and no leader.
“You cannot achieve everything that you want through conspiracies […] I would first suggest the Opposition stands on its feet and stop hatching conspiracies,” he said.
The information minister said the government’s position was “stable” and in the next two to three months the mounting inflation would also come down — and the country will move toward the election in 2023.

Chaudhry said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) “group” comes out on the streets every year, as protests against the government were its usual “winter activity”.

The information minister noted the price of petrol and gas were increasing across the world — not only in Pakistan — and said inflation would come down in the country.
The federal government is working on setting up a central helpline — 911, he said.
The government has also decided to put Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation’s (PTDC) properties in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Punjab on lease, Chaudhry said.

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