LAHORE  - Describing the process initiated for talks as going on satisfactorily, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said that during his last visit to the US, he had told the Obama administration about peace dialogue with Taliban and none in his government, including the President himself, had opposed it at any level.

While interacting with columnists, intellectuals and senior journalists, on the invitation of Ataul Haq Qasmi here, and, later, informally talking to media persons at Alhamra, the PM said no other option except dialogue with Taliban was on the table right now.

Replying to various queries, the prime minister said all issues whether relating to peace in Balochistan or somewhere else would be sorted out through talks. As to the current round of peace initiatives with Taliban and formation of an NA committee to push this process, the prime minister said now the ball was in the TTP’s court. He said the people representing the two sides were respectable and he valued them highly.

While praying for success of the talks, the PM said he wanted all problems to be solved through peaceful means so that the country could not face further difficulties. He said many nations had resolved their issues through negotiations.

Answering a question, the premier said: “The committees will sort out demands and agenda as they start to hold formal meetings. The two committees will now sit together and take the process ahead. I will personally supervise the peace talks with the help of the interior minister and he is discharging his responsibilities in this behalf.”

Answering a question on the Peshawar cinema house grenade attack which took lives of five people and left scores injured), Nawaz Sharif said: “As Taliban have disowned this act, we need to know who the actual perpetrators are and whether these enemies belong to the country or they have been planted by any other state. I have directed the intelligence agencies to find them out,” he added.

To a question on peace in Balochistan, the premier also supported negotiations to achieve the goal and said at a meeting with the Balochistan chief minister, he had asked him to go ahead with talks to bring back all disgruntled Baloch elements. “My help in this regard would also be available as and when required,” he averred.

Nawaz Sharif, replying to another question, said the situation today was an outcome of the mistakes of the past regimes. The dictators in the past caused great loss to the country, he said and added, “Had the past governments performed, we would not have faced the current dolorous situation.”

Nawaz Sharif said the national kitty was empty when his government took over, but the situation was now improving. Perhaps, the national history never saw such a pathetic picture of the country as they found it after the May 11 elections, the premier said, adding he and his team were sincerely making efforts to set things right for which they were pursuing policies, keeping in view difficulties and plight of the masses.

Nawaz said, “Motorways and energy projects are need of the country, but the economy is cash-strapped and our preference is energy.” He claimed his government’s policies had relatively reduced electricity and gas loadshedding. Regarding withdrawing subsidy on electricity, Nawaz Sharif said the last government took decision in this respect, but left its implementation to the next government. He also expressed the resolve to carry out privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills and PIA in a transparent manner.