Mr Altaf Hussain, the leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), has condemned in harshest possible terms the killing of 23 personnel of paramilitary Frontier Constabulary who were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Reacting on a letter by the Mohmand Agency Taliban chief, which claimed that TTP has killed the FC soldiers to avenge the custodial killing of Taliban fighters in various parts of Pakistan, Mr Hussain said that he was saddened by the news and termed it a "cowardice act".
"With regard to negotiations with TTP, I have been demanding that if the government has to negotiate with TTP, then there should be no further delay in holding talks. The TTP, however, has turned the talks into a joke and has killed hundreds of Pakistan army soldiers, personnel of paramilitary forces and civilians in dozens of suicide attacks and bombings", Mr Hussain asserted.
"Whenever Pakistan government and the army plan to undertake concrete steps to combat the terrorist activities of TTP, the Taliban start the mantra of negotiations. This tactic not only buys them more time to continue their terrorist activities, it also causes confusion among masses",
"Just yesterday the Ulema Council had urged the army and the government to show restrain against the TTP attacks, yet within 24 hours of this advice, TTP has 'proudly' announced killing of 23 more soldiers of paramilitary F.C.".
What kind of joke is that on one hand, TTP is demanding release of its prisoners and, on the other, it is killing army men that it has been holding in captivity!", wondered Mr Hussain.
"I passionately appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, COAS General Raheel Shareef, independent columnists, intellectuals and defence analysts to not remain mere spectators on relentless terrorist activities of TTP and do not trust their false promises. I urge the Prime Minister and the army chief to come up with a joint strategy and take the nation into confidence over the situation".
"I firmly believe that whatever the decision, the government and army jointly make, people of Pakistan will abide by it and will stand shoulder to shoulder with their government and the armed forces. I am also optimistic that the nation will be willing to make every sacrifice to achieve the objectives and plans laid out by the government and the army".
"I appeal to Mr Nawaz Sharif and General Raheel Shareef in the name of Almighty Allah and his last Prophet (PBUH) that now the time for a final decision is upon us, please do not delay the decision any further. Any further delay is likely to cause irreparable damage to the country's integrity and security".