DAWN, ISLAMABAD, 01st OCTOBER 2013: After floating a slew of proposals to deal with terrorism and the Taliban which failed to find common ground either with the government or other opposition parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has now decided to hold a national conference of religious scholars and intellectuals on Oct 5 for the purpose.
The surprising part of the move is that instead of inviting heads or representatives of political parties, only religious scholars, intellectuals and thinkers will be invited to the conference.
In the opening lines of a press statement the party’s media wing issued on Monday about the conference, it criticised the government for sleeping over the recommendations of the Sept 9 all-party conference (APC).
“After accepting PTI’s stand and Imran Khan’s formula during the APC which was translated into a consensus resolution, there is no on-ground implementation. This has resulted in continuation of terrorist acts throughout the country, notably in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
It said that taking into account the gravity of the issue, the religious leadership of the PTI had decided to organise a national conference on ‘Islam, Deen and Salamati’ (Islam, religion and peace).
The purpose of the conference is to get input from religious scholars and thinkers from across the country on how to deal with terrorism and turn Pakistan into a peaceful and prosperous country.
The PTI chairman will chair the conference and the party expressed hope that the initiative would help break a new path.
Asked if the PTI, by holding the conference, was trying to distance itself from the recommendations of the APC, an official of the party’s media wing clarified that it wanted to create consensus among religious leaders on the issue of terrorism.
He said Mufti Abdul Qavi, who deals with religious affairs for the PTI, was heading the initiative and by no means it was equivalent to the government-sponsored APC in which all political parties had collectively called for a peaceful solution to the ongoing terrorism in the country.
However, the announcement made by the party said that it was holding the conference because of the government’s failure to implement the APC resolution.
Elated by the outcome of the APC, which the PTI claimed was vindication of its stand on militancy, Mr Khan has been actively arguing how the government should go about the proposed dialogue with the Taliban as recommended by the resolution.
Imran Khan, talking to reporters outside the Parliament House on Sept 16, called for immediate ceasefire by the government and the militants and formation of their delegations to kick-start the talks.On Sept 23, after an attack on Christians in Peshawar, Mr Khan said talks could only be held with those willing to renounce violence and accept the writ of the state. “If peace is to be given a chance, it is essential to isolate those who are dedicated to an agenda of violence and carrying out terror attacks against innocent people from those who are prepared to have a ceasefire and talk peace within the ambit of the constitution,” a statement issued by him said.
However, Mr Khan came out with a shocker last week when he recommended setting up of a Taliban office in Pakistan on the lines of their Afghan counterparts, who had briefly opened their office in Qatar for negotiations with the US and other stakeholders.
Mr Khan and his party have been facing a tirade of criticism from all around over the suggestion.
Asad Umar, the newly elected PTI MNA, even had to say that Mr Khan had expressed his personal viewpoint.