The Pakistani government and the leading opposition party in the country have agreed to hold a national conference on terrorism following the Thursday night terrorist attack in Lahore which killed 45 people and injure more than 170 others, reported local media on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
According to the reports, hours after a proposal put forward Saturday by the party chief Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League- N (PML-N), a leading opposition party in Pakistan, the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani conveyed his acceptance through a telephone call. The proposed conference is likely to take place next week, said the reports.
Local analysts said that this is one of the few cases in which the PPP-led government and PML-N have put aside the blame game against each other and have reached a consensus in such a quick manner.
Addressing a press conference at his residence in Raiwind on Saturday, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said his party is ready to convene a national conference to address the root causes of terrorism and to chalk out a national policy to deal with the threat. He said that if the government called such a conference, PML-N would ensure its active participation in the event.
Nawaz urged the government not to "look towards" the U.S. to decide the country's fate and instead take the initiative in negotiating with the Taliban. "They (the U.S.) are holding talks with the Taliban, so Islamabad should adopt the same policy at local level," he said. He pointed out that terrorism was directly linked to the government's foreign policy. He also called for the implementation of the suggestions of the National Assembly's committee on national security.
The PML-N leader said the Interior Ministry and the intelligence agencies working under its control of not cooperating and sharing information with the Punjab government. However, he stressed that this is not the time for "blame game". "We should also avoid labeling terrorists as either Punjabi, Pashtoon, Sindhi or Balochi Taliban," he added.
Nawaz's proposal was positively received by the Prime Minister Gilani who arrived in Lahore on Saturday to convey sympathies to the victims in the terrorist attack. Hours after the proposal was put forward by Nawaz, Gilani conveyed his acceptance to the proposal through a telephone call.
Gilani said further decisions over the proposal would be taken during the high-level meeting that would be held in Islamabad on Monday.
During the telephone conversation, both leaders agreed to prepare a joint strategy to deal with the threat posed by militancy.Both leaders acknowledged that terrorism was the main hurdle in the way of development of the country. They also urged all political parties to work together over the issue of terrorism.