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Govt ready to talk to TTP if it apologises, renounces violence forever: Moeed Yusuf

National security adviser said this in response to a question by journalist Stephen Sackur in BBC HARDtalk
Updated 09 Dec, 2021 04:07pm
So far the country has released 42 low-key TTP prisoners. Geo
So far the country has released 42 low-key TTP prisoners. Geo

National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf told BBC HARDtalk on Wednesday the PTI-led government was ready to listen to officials of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan provided they respect Pakistan's laws.

"If they [the TTP] are apologizing and willing to go through the due process of the court of law, live under the Constitution of Pakistan, get punishments of all the crimes they have done, renounce violence forever, we are ready to listen to them," he told BBC interviewer Stephen Sackur.

Yusuf was replying to Sackur's question in an episode of the popular BBC talk show known for its assertive style of questioning.

The host raised the issue of the Pakistan government's negotiations with the TTP, saying Pakistanis were worried as the militant group in 2014 brutally killed at least 130 innocent children in the attack on the Army Public School in 2014.

Just last month, the Supreme Court grilled Prime Minister Imran Khan over his government's inaction against those responsible for the APS and the ongoing talks with the TTP.

"Are we going to surrender once again?" the HARDtalk host asked Yusuf, quoting questions raised by SC judge Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed during last month's hearing.

"All of the people who have lost their loved ones will have to be taken into confidence," said Yusuf, adding Pakistan has a consistent policy that negotiations is only way to end conflict and it must happen from a position of strength.

So far the country has released 42 low-key TTP prisoners and the militant group was expected to extend the month-long ceasefire, which was announced on Nov 9, to continue negotiations.

Sackur also asked the NSA about Pakistan's relations with China and whether Islamabad had offered military bases to Beijing.

Yusuf denied any such offer and said China's bases in Gwadar were economic and any country in the world can invest in the port city.

The NSA added "the same [economic bases] were also offered to the United States, Russia and the Middle East. We are open to all countries," according to a story in Geo.

Sackur asked Yusuf whether Pakistan developed close ties with China at the cost of not speaking out about Muslims around the world, particularly those in Xinjiang.

"You raise your voice for Kashmiri Muslims but refuse to condemn the violation of human rights in a Chinese province," he said.

In his response, the NSA said Pakistan does not agree with the Western version about the alleged atrocities being committed against Muslims in Xinjiang.

"We have relations of trust with China and our ambassador and other delegations from here also visited the Xinjiang province," he said, adding Western countries should talk to Beijing if they have a problem with China.

In the interview, the NSA also talked about the issue of Kashmir, saying Pakistan will raise its voice for the oppressed since they were a part of Pakistan and not another foreign country.

Yusuf also spoke about the plight of people in Afghanistan, highlighting the country was heading towards a new disaster. He appealed to the world for humanitarian aid for Afghans.

“If there is a government of people who fought against America and other western countries, there are also 35 to 40 million people who have nothing to do with it," he said, adding that millions in Afghanistan needed to be fed.

"There is huge pledged money which cannot get into Afghanistan. There are 19 channels, including the United Nations, which cannot function. How can people there be fed then?" he asked.

The interviewer also asked Yusuf about Pakistan's security and whether it has been "enhanced or diminished" since the Afghan Taliban have come to power.

It depends on what role the international community plays in the future, said Yusuf.

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Moeed Yusuf

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