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Sheikh Rashid 'expresses ignorance' about initiation of talks with TTP

Islamabad: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Monday that he had no knowledge of initiation of government talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).



Sheikh Rashid 'expresses ignorance' about initiation of  talks with TTP
GNN Media: Representational Photo

The minister's statement came just a couple of days after Prime Minister Imran Khan confirmed in an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT World that talks with some factions of the banned outfit were underway.

Ahmed told a a presser in Islamabad that the Ministry of Interior had no role in "talks with the TTP", and if any such dialogue is in progress then was not in his knowledge.

He told a questionaire that whether he wanted talks to be held with the TTP, he replied that decisions on such matters were taking "at the highest level" by the prime minister.

"The Ministry of Interior does not make these decisions," he reiterated.

Ahmed acknowledged that army soldiers had been sacrificing lives in the fight against terrorism, saying the prime minister had clarified that talks would be held with only those groups who would lay down their arms and would abide by the law and Constitution of Pakistan.

"Those who are terrorists and have caused harm to the country will not be engaged in dialogue."

Ahmed repeated that this was the prime minister's decision and his ministry was not involved in the matter.

The minister told media that the goverment is going to launch an online visa service for Afghanistan in three weeks, which would replace the visa-on-arrival system. He said the governemnt is also going to abandon $8 dollars fee regarding Afghan banking services. 

As many 20,000 people from Afghanistan had entered Pakistan since August 15 and 6,000 had left for the former, Ahmed said.

The minister added Integrated Border Management Systems had been installed at 16 terminals at the Chaman border and the system would later be installed at five more terminals.

Regarding Pandora leaks, he said "the scandal is like old wine in new bottle".