Islamabad, Sep 9 — Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Monday called for dialogue between political forces and the need to “rise above politics” to develop consensus on issues like terrorism and energy crisis facing the country, a leading Pakistani daily reported.
“We have to rise above politics on some issues and develop a national consensus for the sake of this country,” the Dawn quoted Sharif as saying at the All Parties Conference (APC) called at the prime minister’s residence here.
The meet aimed at evolving consensus on a counter-terrorism strategy as well preparing a roadmap to deal with the deteriorating law and order situation in the port city of Karachi, the country’s financial hub.
Stressing on dialogue as the priority option to curb terrorism, Sharif said: “If we will continue to take decisions with consensus, the people will have greater trust in democracy.”
The fight against terrorism in the country has caused loss of thousands of innocent lives, he said, while admitting that business community was reluctant to invest in the economy.
Sharif, whom Taliban had chosen as a guarantor for peace talks with Islamabad before the May 11 general elections, said that dialogue with the Taliban was Pakistan’s own decision and there had been no foreign intervention.
Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI Lt.Gen. Zaheerul Islam also attended the meeting.
The army chief said that civil and military leadership were on the same page over the issue of national security, putting to rest the skepticism that military and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government held different views on holding talks with militants.
Prior to the conference, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan held a separate meeting with Gen. Kayani and the prime minister. He claimed that US drone strikes were at the root of terrorism in Pakistan and it was important to end such attacks.
The prime minister said that he has directed the interior minister to extend cooperation to provinces to ensure their better coordination with the federal government on security issues.
Earlier this month, Pakistan launched a “targeted operation” in violence-hit Karachi after a sudden surge in the daily incidents of target killings, kidnapping for ransom and extortion that had severely affected business activities in Karachi.
According to human rights groups, over 2,000 people were killed in Karachi in attacks in the first eight months of this year, mostly by gun fires. The troops of paramilitary Pakistan Rangers are leading the operation in the city with over 20 million population.