Taliban regrouping in Pakistan, warns Afrasiab


Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: Left-wing politician Afrasiab Khattak has warned that the Taliban are re-grouping in the country and efforts are being made to align them with Afghan Taliban.

“Once again in our region the Taliban are gathering. An effort is also being made to align them with Afghan Taliban. In the past the Taliban would take extortion money from the shopkeepers in Islamabad and 40 per cent of Karachi was under their control,” Mr Khattak said while speaking at “Pakistan: The Way Forward” at the 4th International Faiz Festival at Alhamra Arts Council here on Saturday.

Mr Khattak, whose basic membership of the Awami National Party (ANP) has recently been suspended, talked about the pressure on political parties to ‘expel’ certain persons. The media was also facing curbs, he added. He said the country was in crises and this (PTI) government had been installed under a ‘stopgap arrangement’ in which a number of technocrats had been included.

“In the next phase, there will be a government of technocrats,” he predicted.

Khattak also talked about the state’s ‘helplessness’ in the face of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s sit-in in the wake of Aasia Bibi’s acquittal.

“If the state continues to operate in this manner, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not safe,” he warned and asked the government to thoroughly investigate the murder of SP Tahir Dawar and bring the culprits to justice.

He regretted the case against SP Rao Anwar, who was allegedly involved in the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud could not be taken to its logical end.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said the times had gone when there would be a ‘direct attack’ on democracy.

“A new way has been found. We see ‘judicialisation’ of politics and politicisation of the judiciary. He said when the Senate asked under which law the ISI was functioning it was told that “it is secret and sensitive (issue)”.

Senator Babar said the politics of resistance was being diminished because of “the aliens and weakness of politicians”.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and PML-N’s Shaista Pervaiz Malik also spoke. Columnist and anchor Nasim Zehra moderated the session.

In another session ‘Seher ka Roshan Ufq’, Ismat Raza Shahjahan said there was a need that secular and progressive forces joined hands to take the country forward.

Dr Aasim Sajjad Akhtar talked about the issue of saving the youth from becoming prey to the radicals.
Courtesy Dawn