Islamabad: Slain anti-Taliban politician Bashir Ahmad Bilour`s ANP party on Tuesday asked Pakistan`s political groups to forge consensus on decisive action against terror sanctuaries if militants refuse to accept the writ of the state.
The Awami National Party (ANP), which rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and is a partner in the ruling coalition at the Centre, said in a resolution that "extremism and terrorist violence is a threat to the very existence" of Pakistan.
"We appeal to all political parties to take a clear stand on this issue... ANP supports negotiations with all those elements that recognise the writ of the state and renounce violence. Those who are not prepared to do it should face effective and meaningful action," said the resolution adopted at a meeting in Peshawar that was chaired by ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.
The ANP said it would contact its partners in the ruling coalition at the Centre, all political parties and state institutions to "prepare a decisive line of action against militants who spurned offers for talks."
"We are of the considered opinion that instead of defending ourselves on our doorsteps and in the streets, we should go after the terrorist sanctuaries. We should evolve a national consensus on a comprehensive strategy for defeating terrorist outfits that are out to destroy our state and our society," the resolution said.
Bilour, who was a Senior Minister in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was killed along with eight others when a suicide attacker targeted him in a market in Peshawar on Saturday.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the assassination.
The ANP, at the forefront of efforts to counter the Taliban in the northwest, has lost over 700 workers and leaders since 2008.
Bilour, 69, was a tireless campaigner against extremism and had been targeted twice in the past by suicide bombers.
ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan told a news conference in Peshawar that a military operation against the militants was "a last option after all other options had been closed" and made it clear that his party was still willing to hold talks with the Taliban.
Comparing Bilour`s death to the loss of an elder brother, Khan said the ANP would not bow down before militants and continue its fight against terrorism till the "last party worker is standing."