Pakistan People’s Party leaders on Friday questioned why the parliament had not been taken into confidence on the issue of talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
They were reacting to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement in an interview in which he said the government was holding talks with some factions of the banned outfit. PPP leaders described the move as “sprinkling salt on the wounds of families of martyrs.” The PPP urged the government to clarify in parliament the terms under which the talks were being held.
Earlier on Friday, PM Khan said the government would “forgive” TTP members and they could become “normal citizens” if they lay down arms.
“We might not reach some sort of conclusion or settlement in the end but we are talking,” he added.
Reacting to the prime minister’s interview, PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman questioned whether PM Imran had “asked parliament what we think about that.” She also asked if the premier had heard the TTP’s response to the government’s offer of reconciliation.
PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari said session of the parliament should be called immediately to discuss the issue of talks with the TTP.
“The statement of forgiving TTP is akin to sprinkling salt on the wounds of martyrs’ relatives,” he said.
Bokhari said the parliament had been “bypassed.” He asked the government to clarify the terms on which the talks were being held.
“Why were parliament and political parties kept uninformed about negotiations with the TTP?” he questioned, adding that a “negative perception” would be built about Pakistan on the international level because of such steps.
Separately, PPP’s information secretary Shazia Marri said the party “strongly condemned” such a big step by the government without first consulting the parliament.
She termed the prime minister’s statement “very sensitive” and said it had raised a number of questions.
“On what basis and under what conditions are talks being held with the TTP? Why was the parliament not taken into confidence? Why did the government feel the need to hold secret talks with the TTP in this way?” she asked.