Karachi: The wave of terrorist attacks throughout Pakistan would make peace talks with the Taliban difficult to continue, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Thursday. "Yes, restoration of peace in Karachi and throughout the country was the top priority of our government. That is why we have encouraged these talks with the insurgents," Khan said.
"But the continuous attacks by insurgents and the attack on the policemen today can derail the peace talks process," he said. Khan's comments came after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a bus carrying policemen here this morning in which 13 people of the special services unit of the Sindh police were killed.
"On one hand we are engaged in dealing with elements trying to disrupt peace initiative and on the other with people who want to talk," said the minister, expressing his annoyance on the matter. The two sides have held talks on framing a roadmap for a dialogue, following which the Taliban committee met TTP leaders in the tribal belt for consultations. During the ongoing peace talks, the government negotiators have asked the TTP to enforce a ceasefire.
Talking on the law and order situation in Karachi, Khan said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had submitted with him a list of their disappeared workers. The MQM claims their workers and supporters have either been kidnapped or tortured and killed by the police and paramilitary rangers in the ongoing operation in the city against criminals and militants.
Khan insisted the operation was not aimed against any party. "But we have taken cognisance of the MQM concerns and now law enforcement agencies will have to declare the arrest of any suspect within 24 hours after apprehending him. Similarly, if he is guilty then an FIR must also be lodged against him in the period," he said.
The government had, at the start of the operation, given sweeping powers to the rangers to detain any person for investigation for up to 90 days while informing the court about any such detention.