Pakistan won’t hold talks with TTP: Bilawal

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Says Pak ‘not interested’ in cross-border operation in Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Pakistan’s leadership will not hold talks with terrorist organisations that don’t respect the country’s laws and the Constitution, adding that the former government adopted an appeasement policy towards the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban.

“The new leadership in Pakistan, both political and military, has been absolutely clear. There will be no talks with terrorist organisations that don’t respect our laws and Constitution.

“I am confident that if we can work with the Afghan interim government, which has influence over these groups, we will be successful in maintaining our security,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post in Davos, Switzerland where he is attending the World Economic Forum.

Commenting on the previous PTI government, the foreign minister said: “Imran Khan gave the TTP a place to hide. Not only did he release their prisoners who were in Pakistan’s custody, but also engaged in a dialogue with them.

“He (Imran) has always been ideologically sympathetic to their point of view,” Bilawal said. The foreign minister was also asked whether Pakistan had hoped that the new Afghan government would act against the TTP, to which he responded: “Our hope, and in fact, their agreement was that their soil would not be used for terrorism. We do hope to cooperate with them to deal with terrorists that are a concern to us.

“We are both victims of terrorism. I don’t believe that the Afghanistan government will be successful on their own against terrorism, and neither will we be successful on our own against terrorism. We have to work together.”

Bilawal told Anadolu news agency that Pakistan had no intention of launching a cross-border operation in Afghanistan.

“We’re not interested in launching a cross-border operation, nor would we want to advocate for more military intervention after what we’ve already seen was the longest war,” Bilawal said.

Bilawal reiterated Pakistan’s demand for the Afghan government to weed out terrorist organisations and offered to help in this regard.