Minister brings Nawaz, Imran to same table

March 14, 2014 - 6:52:48 am
ISLAMABAD: The bonhomie created by the constant liaison of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan with Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on the question of peace talks was further built up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with his otherwise bitter political rival.

Almost at every stage of the dialogue process the interior minister has been talking to Imran Khan to have him on board. The PTI chief has been forthcoming because he has been convinced that the government is making an honest serious effort to end terrorism through peaceful means.

The decisive dialogue process that the government and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are to initiate has brought the two political adversaries closer. The meeting was indeed a positive development that showed political maturity.

It was part of the consultations that the prime minister is holding at different levels. It assumed extra importance in view of the decisive deliberations that he had with the military top brass on Tuesday. It is widely believed that the decisions taken in this discussion were conveyed to Imran Khan and his opinion sought.

As the PTI chief is the most vital player in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the presence of his chief minister Pervez Khattak in the meeting demonstrated that the single point agenda of discussion was how to end terrorism.

The establishment of the new government committee that would initiate negotiations with the TTP was also discussed.

The composition of the two delegations was interesting. Imran Khan had on his side Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi and Jehangir Tareen, all of whom worked with Nawaz Sharif for years before joining the PTI. Some of them left him quietly while others created a scene while departing.

The prime minister had with him only those, who have been involved in the dialogue process with the TTP at varying degrees.

Apart from the interior minister, his special assistant Irfan Siddiqui, who was coordinator of the previous government committee, and his political secretary Asif Kirmani accompanied him.

“If Tuesday’s meeting of the top military brass with the prime minister was decisive with regard to the issue of terrorism, today’s session was equally conclusive in taking Imran Khan and his team into confidence on what the government is going to do in this connection,” a credible source said.

When the PML-N and PTI were verbally exchanging fire, Nisar used to respond to Imran on his party’s behalf in a hard-hitting tone. Now, it is a different scenario. “Chaudhry Nisar is doing a fine job,” PTI chief said.