Giving failed talks with the Pakistani Taliban another chance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today set up four-member committee to oversee peace parleys with the banned militant group but made it clear that they would have to stop attacks that have seen a surge recently. "This situation cannot be tolerated anymore. Peace is not a choice but is our destination. Peace would be established at any cost," he said addressing the National Assembly.
"Terror attacks should be stopped. Terror and talks cannot go hand in hand together," he said adding that all arms of government are on the same page over this. "We want to give peace another chance," he said.
He said that the All Party Conference had decided talks will be held. "We invited them to talks...so that they could not play with civilian life and property. So that they follow the constitution. Unfortunately, they did not heed our plea and continued to target security forces and civilians." He said the nation had been suffering from terrorism for the last 14 years because of decisions taken by an "illegal" administration.
Announcing the setting up of a committee to oversee peace talks, he said Irfan Siddiqui, Rahimullah Yusufzai, Rustam Shah Mehmand and Major Amir would be its members.
He said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will coordinate the working of the committee.
The Prime Minister said that the government has adopted the path of talks with the Taliban to give peace another chance in the larger interest of the country despite "bitter experience of the past".
Responding to his speech, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan said talks should be open and transparent. Sharif said he also feels the same and it should be time bound but not for too long.
The Prime Minister said ensuring security to people is of prime importance to the government. He criticised the Taliban for the recent spate of attacks noting that Maj Gen Sanaullah, an army officer fighting the militants, was assassinated by the banned group and "they accepted responsibility with pride".