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Petition seeks halt in talks with Taliban

May 29, 2013 14:10 IST

A Pakistani journalist has petitioned the Supreme Court to bar the civilian government and the military from making any contacts or conducting negotiations with the Taliban, saying such an act is forbidden by the Constitution.

Shahid Orakzai, a freelance journalist, filed the petition naming the joint chiefs of staff committee chairman and Inter-Services Intelligence chief as respondents.

He asked the apex court to direct the ISI chief to identify persons who are in contact with the Taliban.

The court should instruct the joint chiefs of staff committee chairman to pre-empt any contact or negotiations within Pakistan "between the enemy and any politico-religious person/party advocating peace with the enemy", the petition said.

The JCSC chairman should also be directed to convene a meeting of the committee to identify areas where militants are threatening the country’s security and to report on the action to be taken against rebels, the petition said.

Orakzai contended the apex court should prevent any move that went against the Constitution, might undermine the security of the country and the discipline of the armed forces, the Daily Times reported.

"The court’s attention is called to the plight of the combatant soldier and his loosening grip on the trigger when he discovers that his blood is now a matter of bargain for the next prime minister of Pakistan," Orakzai said in the petition.

The armed forces had not lost any ground or territory to militants and the court could seek their view from the JCSC chairman.

"Having suffered loss of life, they are bewildered by the sudden U-turn in state policy on the war," he contended.

Orakzai questioned whether the armed forces could propose a truce or end of hostilities to the enemy within the territory of Pakistan.

He asked whether any citizen is empowered by the Constitution to negotiate peace with a "private army waging war on Pakistan".

"This petition seeks an instant and immediate halt to the double-crossing move of some politico-religious elements to impose a disgraceful armistice, call it semi-surrender, on the bleeding armed forces of Pakistan. These elements are, in fact, seeking religious and moral victory for the Taliban rebels who literally stand divorced from the Islamic Republic," the petition said.

It could not immediately be ascertained when the apex court would take up the petition.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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