Lahore: The main opposition Pakistan People`s Party on Sunday demanded a military operation against militants in the country`s northwest, saying the government`s efforts to engage the Taliban in peace talks has produced no results.
"The PML-N government should launch a military operation against militants to establish the state`s writ as it has exhausted all other options," PPP secretary-general Latif Khosa told PTI.
The government was given the mandate by an All-Parties Conference in September last year to hold talks with the Taliban. In case this effort failed, the government should go in for a military offensive, the conference had decided.
"Are five months not enough to kick off talks with the Taliban? How much more time the government needs?" Khosa asked.
The Taliban, he said, had repeatedly made it clear to the government that they were not ready for talks. "After this clear reply, the government should stop fooling the people in the name of peace talks as the Taliban have been striking everywhere in the country with impunity," he said.
Khosa`s remarks came against the backdrop of a bomb attack by the Taliban on a military convoy that killed 22 troops in the northwest this morning.
Earlier this month, the Taliban launched around 50 attacks, mostly in the northwestern province of Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa, that claimed about 50 lives.
Khosa said the PPP would press the government to take the people into confidence over launching a military operation against militants without any further delay because nobody was seeing any results from its peace initiative.
"We will not let the PML-N repeat the `we are holding talks with the Taliban` mantra for the rest of its five-year term," he warned.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali recently acknowledged there had been no progress in peace talks with the Taliban.
Shortly after it came to power in last year`s general election, the PML-N had pledged to hold talks with the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to end terrorism.
The Taliban pulled out of the nascent peace process after their chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike in November.