LAHORE - Pakistan Awami Tehreek president Sheikh Zahid Fayyaz and secretary general Khurram Nawaz Gandapur said that terrorism is a global issue, posing a major threat to the country’s security and survival.

Addressing a news conference at the Press Club here on Saturday, the PAT leaders said that lack of courage on the part of the ruling and political elite was adding to the intensity of the problem. They said that the rulers did not have any clear anti-terror policy which could be implemented to eliminate the ‘cancer of terrorism’. They said that PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri had branded the so-called ‘peace talks’ between the government and Taliban committees as merely an eyewash and predicted its failure at a time when negotiations were underway. They said that the entire nation had seen the fate of talks in a span of two weeks.

The leaders said that the fate of these talks was already open but the rulers wanted to use dialogue as a smokescreen to plan and ensure the sell-out of state-owned enterprises in the name of privatisation. They said that maintenance of law and order was the fundamental and foremost responsibility of the political leadership, while the armed forces were responsible for territorial integrity and defence of the motherland. They said there was no way that the state could accept the Taliban demands. They said that the nation’s attention was distracted from the main issues through the talks ‘Tamasha’ and the national assets were being put on loot sale.

The PAT leaders said that state-owned entities were being sold and bought by the rulers through privatisation commission. They said that the federal minister for finance manifestly stated the other day that 31 enterprises would be privatised in the first phase including the profit-making organisations.

Gandapur said that Article 247 of the Constitution authorised the federal government to extend the executive authority to the FATA region. He said that Article 256 barred any private organisation/party from establishing a militant wing and declared such an act as unconstitutional. He said that if the Taliban could go to Qatar for talks with the US, why they could not come to Miran Shah to hold a dialogue with the government of Pakistan.

He said that it was a very dangerous proposition propounded by the rulers that the government and armed forces were separate entities and not on the same page. He said that the armed forces of Pakistan were fully capable to defend the motherland, adding that the people rejected any notion to the contrary. He said that the nation always stood by their armed forces. He said that elimination terrorists was the intense desire of the 180-million people, adding that they were ready to render any sacrifice for this purpose.

The PAT secretary general said that the ruling elite were busy looting and plundering resources by putting the national interests at the backburner. He said that the PAT rejected this practice, adding that it would not allow those who played against the national interests to flee with the help of the people of Pakistan.  Sunni Ittehad Council Lahore president Mufti Dr Haseeb Qadri was also present on the occasion.