LAHORE- The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday refused hearing of a plea challenging government operation against Taliban, with observation that the courts could not interfere in government’s policy matters.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial of the LHC was hearing a petition seeking direction for the federal government to hold talks with Taliban and allow them to open an office in the country.

During the hearing, the petitioner-lawyer said that some anti-peace forces were interrupting talks between government and Taliban. He said after the failure of talks, the government was willing to launch a full-scale operation against Taliban which would cause more destruction and could be fatal as well.  The lawyer-petitioner appealed to the court to issue a direction to the federal government stopping it from likely strikes on Taliban. He further pleaded that the government should be directed to resume talks with them. 

After hearing the arguments, the court dismissed his plea and said it was government’s policy and the court could not interfere in policy matters of the government. However, the court adjourned hearing till March 28 with directions to the petitioner-lawyer Kashif Solomany to argue on the maintainability of the petition.

Earlier, contending over the government’s policy matter, the petitioner said that if it was a policy matter then let the foreign powers to attack on citizens of Pakistan and kill them, but he argued, it was violation of fundamental rights. Thus, he said the courts had constitutional powers to stop such gross violation of fundamental rights of the citizens. He argued that the surgical strikes against Taliban in the country would be a grave error for peace. He further added that respondents might be directed to hold dialogue with Taliban to ensure peace. He said 49,000 people had lost their lives in the war against terror since 9/11 and more than 24,000 civilians and troops had been killed in attacks between 2001 and 2008.

“The armed forces have lost 15,681 men fighting against the Taliban militants in the Tribal Areas since 2008. Some 5,152 civilians had been killed and 5,678 injured in bomb blasts and suicide attacks since 2008,” the petitioner further had added.

The petitioner-lawyer also informed the court about the consequences the country was going to face after being ally of US in war against terrorism. He said the country continued to pay a heavy price in economic and security terms while a large portion of its resources both human and material were consumed by this war on terror for the last several years.

Solomani had said that talks with the Taliban were an “efficacious, adequate and alternative remedy” to fight, but this option was being ignored. Military action proved futile.

It was time to hold dialogue with the national interest, he said. The petitioner said the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had denied involvement in three recent bomb attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which raised the question of who was behind the attacks.

The petitioner further said Taliban office would facilitate the dialogue process, so the national leadership should give dialogue a chance to deal with extreme issue of Taliban in the interest of peace.