Home Latest News No Talks with TTP without Consent of APS Martyrs’ Parents: Bilawal

No Talks with TTP without Consent of APS Martyrs’ Parents: Bilawal

by Newsweek Pakistan

PPP rally in Peshawar on Nov. 30, 2021. Photo courtesy PPP Media Cell

PPP chairperson vows to ‘expose’ incumbent government’s plans to rig future elections

There should be no dialogue between the government and militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) without prior consent of the parents of the students martyred in the Army Public School massacre, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Tuesday.

Addressing a rally marking the PPP’s 54th foundation day in Peshawar, he said that talks with the TTP were a “betrayal” of martyrs, adding that terrorists involved in heinous crimes should face legal action before being granted any amnesty. Stressing that the PPP rejected talks with terrorists, he said that the government had not taken Parliament into confidence before initiating talks with the TTP, and alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government was trying to reintroduce the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation in the erstwhile FATA under the pretext of its negotiations with the TTP.

After several months of speculation, the government last month confirmed that it had initiated peace talks with the TTP and other militant groups, claiming that a month-long ceasefire had been declared that could be extended based on the results of the dialogue. The Afghan government has confirmed that it is facilitating the talks. While the government has not confirmed the terms of reference of its talks, sources familiar with the development say the militants have demanded the release of several top commanders as a “goodwill” gesture.

Bhutto-Zardari said that terrorists kept demanding shariah law in Pakistan, adding that they seemed to be unaware that the country was already ruled under an Islamic Constitution. He also paid tribute to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for defeating terrorists, stressing that “big powers” had not been able to defeat militancy in Afghanistan.

EVMs

During his speech, the PPP chairperson lashed out at the government’s attempt to impose the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next general elections, alleging this was intended to manipulate the results. Reiterating that the PPP would challenge the EVMs in court, he warned that Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying to fool overseas Pakistanis by granting them to right to vote from their place of residence. Instead of direct voting, he said, the PPP had proposed separate constituencies for overseas Pakistanis to give them representation in Parliament.

“How is it possible that the vote of a person will be counted in Bannu while he is sitting in New York,” he said, noting that someone who lived abroad was unlikely to have complete knowledge of local requirements. Urging the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to support the PPP in the next elections, he claimed that it would fulfill all its commitments to boost employment and facilitate the impoverished.

“The PPP will give jobs to people and protect their fundamental rights,” he claimed and slammed the incumbent government for trying to usurp political, economic and fundamental rights of the people.

The PPP gathering boasted a crowd of thousands, with independent observers saying it could prove a challenge for the PTI in the next elections if it continued its outreach in the region. In addition to Bhutto-Zardari, it was also attended by several of the party’s lawmakers, including MNA Khurshid Shah and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

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