Shehbaz Sharif warns militants spreading across Pak

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday criticised the previous government for talks with the Taliban as he warned of militants spreading across the country if immediate steps were not taken. His remarks come days after a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers on Monday in the mosque in the Police Lines area in Peshawar, killing 101 people and injuring more than 200 others. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. Addressing the Cabinet, the prime minister said that terrorism was rearing its head again and people from Peshawar to Karachi had questions about “who brought them (Taliban) back?” “Everyone is asking who brought them back. What happened? How can peace be destroyed? How can Khyber Pakhtunkhwa go back into the hands of terrorists?” he said. He targeted the talks held with the rebels through the mediation of the Afghan Taliban and the decision by the government of Pakistan to allow them to come back. “Who said they have laid down their arms and will contribute to the country’s growth and development?” the prime minister said, as he asked the Cabinet to discuss the issue in detail. Shehbaz also said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has received a huge amount of Rs 417 billion since 2010 but the money was not spent to boost the security apparatus of the province. He also said that Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had been ruling the province for the last 10 years. He said the money provided was strictly to build counter-terrorism capabilities but the government failed to improve the Counter-Terrorism Department, procure ammunition, prepare new cadres or get other related equipment. The issue of talks with the Taliban is under scanner after the Peshawar attack. The talks began after the Afghan Taliban took over Kabul in 2021. They acted as a facilitator but the process came to a halt after the militants put forward unrealistic demands like changes in the constitution.