Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Friday rejected any possibility of resuming negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stressing that the state has sufficient strength to continue fighting them for even the next 100 years.
“Don’t you see that their people are being killed daily? Our people are also being martyred. So what kind of talks or impediments [are you referring to]? They are killing my children and I am killing them,” he told journalists in response to a question on impediments to talks with the TTP during a visit to Peshawar. “The state of Pakistan is powerful enough to fight the TTP, not just for one year, but rather 100 years,” he added.
The interim premier emphasized that the biggest hurdle to talks with the TTP was a lack of desire to engage the militants. “We don’t want to talk to them. Who told you that we have any intention to talk with TTP?” he questioned. Last month, during a visit to Peshawar, Pakistan Army chief Gen. Asim Munir had similarly vowed no talks with the TTP, stressing they had to either submit to the writ of the state or face eradication.
To a question on the government’s announced deadline for illegal foreigners to leave the country before Nov. 1, Kakar stressed no registered Afghan refugees were being expelled from Pakistan. Only foreigners living illegally in the country would be expelled, he said, explaining Islamabad’s aim was to maintain its ties with Afghanistan based on international standards in which the movement of people was subject to visas. Noting that illegal residents were not registered with Pakistan, he said this hampered attempts to distinguish between migrants playing a productive role in society and criminals challenging the writ of the state.
The caretaker prime minister also reiterated that his government would facilitate the conduct of general elections as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). “Every political party registered with the ECP is entitled to file [nomination papers] for its candidate,” he said, stressing the interim government was mandated to ensure a level playing field for all political parties.
To a question on the scheduled return of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Kakar said it would be done as per law.