ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday urged all political forces in Pakistan to shun politicking on issues of national importance such as terrorism and the energy crisis, and to join hands to address them unanimously.
Sharif was chairing the All Parties Conference (APC) aimed at evolving consensus on a counter-terrorism strategy as well as a plan to cope with the law and order situation of Karachi.
“We have to rise above politics on some issues and develop a national consensus for the sake of this country,” the prime minister told the political leaders.
Nawaz Sharif said a solution to address the problem of terrorism and extremism would be sorted out with consensus after thorough deliberations with the participants.
The fight against militancy has resulted in the loss of lives of thousands of innocent civilians and military troops, said Sharif. It also caused major financial setbacks as the businessmen were reluctant to invest in the economy, he added.
Sharif said he considered dialogue as the priority option to curb terrorism.
The prime minister said it was a test for democracy to deliver results in shape of peace and a strong economy. “If we will continue to take decisions with consensus, the people will have greater trust in democracy.”
He said that he had also directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to extend cooperation to provinces to ensure their better coordination with the federal government on security issues.
Later, Director General ISI Lt.Gen Zaheerul Islam and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani briefed the participants of the APC on security situation in the country.
The meeting was being attended by Army Chief Kayani, DG ISI Zaheerul Islam, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, all four provincial chief ministers and governor, and the leaders of all mainstream political parties of Pakistan.
Political leaders attending the conference include Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PT) chief Imran Khan, Jamat-i-Islami (JI) chief Syed Munawar Hasssan, head of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar, Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) chief Pir Pagara, Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Haji Adeel, Balochistan National Party- Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Prior to the conference PTI chief Imran Khan held a separate meeting with COAS Gen Kayani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
During the meeting Imran presented his party’s stance over the issue of terrorism and said the issue of terrorism in Pakistan was the result of drone strikes in the country’s territory. He added that any attempt to eliminate terrorism would not succeed without an end to drone attacks in the country.