Imran sets Nov 20 deadline on drones

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THE NATION, ISLAMABAD, 05th NOVEMBER 2013:- The National Assembly on the first day of its 6th session, on Monday, witnessed unity between treasury and opposition benches as government clearly expressed its resolve to continue its efforts for dialogue with the Taliban.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan softened somewhat his stance on blocking the Nato supplies giving the PML-N federal government an opportunity to act. But he warned that his party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will block the supplies on its own, if the central government failed in resolving the drone strikes issue.
They would assess government’s action on this matter as well as the progress in peace process, Imran said in his speech, after the interior minister’s clear indication to keep the dialogue process alive. “(But) if drone strikes continued then we will block Nato supplies after November 20 and go to the UN Security Council,” he added.
The session of the House, started after a delayed of over two hours, on first day suspending all other agenda items and reserved it for debate over emerging situation in the aftermath of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s killing.
PTI chief said it was a ‘defining moment’ for Pakistan so all the political parties should express unity to face this challenge. “Our nation wants peace… There is need for adopting a united stance,” he said, adding that they have been condemning strikes for nine years but mere “condemnation will never bring any change”. He said he was ready to reconcile with everyone including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman for the good of the nation.
Imran asked those in favour of military operation that what they would do if that option failed to bear fruit. Imran paid a tribute to interior minister for his effort for peace dialogue. However, he expressed his displeasure asking why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his recent visit did not press the US for stopping drone strikes. “It should have been top priority of his visit agenda,” he said.
PTI chief raised a volley of questions about the timing of killing of Hakimullah Mehsud. He said it destroyed chances for peace, adding, “Whatever the interior minister did now, it would be extremely difficult for any new TTP chief to come back to the table.” He asked what guarantee the government have that the Americans won’t hit the peace process again.
Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in his policy statement said that the government wants to keep the dialogue process alive. He informed that a three-member Ulema delegation was ready to go for talks with Taliban but US attack sabotaged it.
PML-N government, he said, would continue its efforts for peace in the same manner in consultations with all parties. Lauding the political parties support, he said there was a need for greater unity on the national stance on drone strikes as this was the best way to resolve this matter.
About restarting the talks process, he said, “This would only be possible after the militant outfit chooses a new chief… Situation is more gruesome than the point from where we had initiated peace efforts in September this year. But, we need to have consensus and proceed as success of dialogue will be success of all stakeholders.”

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