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Soft approaches more helpful to bring long-term peace in the country

Peshawar— Special Assistant to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkkhwa on Information Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif on Tuesday said that the government should not close its doors of talk with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as operations by security forces against militants were not the permanent solution to the problem.

“We need to move forward with some comprehensive approach and open mind,” the special assistant said while addressing the launching ceremony of ‘Charter of Peace’ held at the Shaykh Zayed Islamic Centre in the University of Peshawar. The event was organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based research and advocacy think tank.

Lawmakers, academics, journalists, students and representatives of civil society attended the ceremony besides others.

Charter of Peace, launched by PIPS, is a consensus document that lays down key recommendations for countering violent extremism and building sustainable solutions towards attaining peace in Pakistan. It basically focuses on softer and political approaches for counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. It has been developed after consulting multiple stakeholders.

Saif, who is also the spokesperson for the KP government, argued that the government should keeping talking with the TTP without surrendering to it and respond vigorously if the banned militant group carried out any terrorist activity.

The remarks of the key functionary of the provincial government came a day after TTP formally called off the ceasefire agreement it struck with the federal government earlier this year and ordered its militants to carry out terrorist attacks across the country.

“This is your choice whether you want to end terrorism in the country with hard measures or through talks,” Saif told the participants. He added that negotiations were the better way to bring sustainable peace in the country. “Militants were crushed in the past through military operations but unfortunately, they benefited from the ground situation in neighbouring Afghanistan,” he said.

The special assistant also said that peace and war were interrelated phenomena but the ‘question of identity’ was very important in this regard. He added that the identity crisis used to push human beings towards some sort of conflict.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister KP on Minority Affairs Wazeer Zada speaking on the occasion said that the criminal justice system should be reformed to bring long-term peace in the country. “Peace can’t be attained until we reform our present weak justice system.” He said that ensuring rule of law and rights of minorities were the two prerequisites to achieve the objective.

Member of KP Assembly Humaira Bashir viewed that peace could not be attained in the country without youth empowerment and ensuring women rights.

Director Shaykh Zayed Islamic Centre Professor Rashid Ahmad emphasized that youth should be encouraged to ask questions and they should be provided with open forums to speak and debate freely. He deplored that questioning was discouraged among youth.

Earlier, Director PIPS Muhammad Amir Rana in his welcome note said the purpose of launching the document was to reiterate the resolve that Pakistan was “inclusive and for all, where rights of everyone should be protected.” He said that social and economic development was essential to bring peace in a society.