Bilawal slates Imran Khan for his ‘wrong TTP approach’

Says policy of appeasement towards Taliban created problems for Pakistani people: Asserts his govt has ended former strategy: Reiterates on need to engage with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers despite group’s hardline policies vis-a-vis women

By: News Desk
Published: 09:51 AM, 18 Jan, 2023
Bilawal slates Imran Khan for his ‘wrong TTP approach’
Caption: Video grab.
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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has criticized the previous government of Imran Khan for adopting a “wrong approach” towards proscribed armed organization Pakistan Tehreek-i-Taliban.

He uttered these remarks during an interview to Al Jazeera TV in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday. 

“Its policy of appeasement towards the Taliban has created problems for the people of Pakistan,” Zardari told Al Jazeera, adding that the former approach has been ended by his government.

“We recently had a national security meeting of the top political and military leadership of our country where it was decided that we would not tolerate terrorist groups and anybody who violates the law in Pakistan,” the foreign minister said.

Pakistan has seen rise in attacks by the Pakistan Taliban after the armed group unilaterally ended an Afghan Taliban-brokered ceasefire agreement in November.

Islamabad repeatedly accuses the Taliban government in Afghanistan of sheltering Pakistan Taliban leadership on Afghan soil – an allegation denied by Kabul.

Earlier in January, Pakistan Taliban warned the country’s main ruling parties of “concrete action” against their top leadership in the government for “declaring war” against it.

A statement released by the Pakistan Taliban in first week of January explicitly named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was against taking military action against the Pakistan Taliban before using consuming other options.

Earlier in January he blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for making “dangerously irresponsible” statements against the Afghan Taliban authorities and causing strains in bilateral ties rather than seeking cooperation over the Pakistan Taliban threat.

The Pakistani foreign minister also reiterated on the need to engage with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers despite the group’s hardline policies vis-a-vis women. Last month, the Taliban banned women from universities. Shortly after the group also banned women from working in NGOs.

Some aid groups have resumed operations after women health workers were allowed to work.

“The solution is to engage the Afghan government and try to convince them to live up to their promises to the international community whether it is to do with women’s rights or the issue of terrorism,” Zardari told Al Jazeera.

“I do not think turning our back and disengaging is an option. And it’s certainly not an option for Pakistan which shares such a long and porous border with Afghanistan.”

Foreign Minister Bilawal also confirmed that he has not recalled the Pakistani ambassador in Afghanistan back home after an attack on its mission in Kabul last month.

“He was due back for some briefings and dialogues. I hope we will have the security necessary to send him soon,” he said.

Spain, EU steadfast partners of Pakistan 

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday met Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation Jose Manuel Albares Bueno on the sidelines of the annual meeting of World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland.

During the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed bilateral, regional and global matters of mutual interest.

The foreign minister appreciated the Spain and European Union as Pakistan’s steadfast partners and their support at the recently held International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan held in Geneva.

Economic cooperation between Pakistan and China

Foreign Minister Bilawal also met with Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu He and discussed the multifaceted economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, and agreed to maintain close contact to further the mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

Categories : Pakistan