Taj Haider sees revival of PPP in Punjab after its stance against terrorism has been vindicated

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LAHORE: Senator Taj Haider has said he sees revival of the PPP in Punjab after its stance against terrorism and extremism has been vindicated.

“We will regain our position in Punjab and the results of next elections will be different from that of May 2013. Today both the PML-N and PTI, who were brought to power by the Taliban, have accepted the PPP’s philosophy and apparently shunned their support to extremism,” Mr Haider said in a talk with a group of journalists.

He was critical of the PML-N government for giving time to the Taliban to regroup and get strengthened.

“The government should not have wasted time in initiating action against the Taliban. They (Taliban) got strengthened when the government gave them considerable time for negotiations. The PPP government had never held talks with extremists and terrorists.”

Mr Haider says he feels it is time the progressives of Punjab should gather on one platform and raise voice against extremism. “If the progressives are strengthened the federation itself gets strengthened.”

He said the Punjab government, which was accused of protecting terrorists and their sympathisers, needed to go after the sleeper cells of extremists and banned organisations, if it was sincere towards war on terror.

“All provinces should be onboard on the war against terrorism. There must be zero tolerance for extremism.”

He said the PPP government had carried out the Swat operation successfully without setting up military courts. “In the 21st amendment the military courts and words like taking up arms against the state in the name of religion or sect hurt the unity which is direly needed to fight terrorism in the country,” he lamented.

Mr Haider, who is in-charge relief operation in Tharparkar, questioned as to how the PML-N managed to get votes in south Punjab despite hardly doing any considerable development work there.

“The threats of extremists kept our voters away from the last election, especially in the south. The PPP is strong in the belt as it had tabled the resolution of the Seraiki province in assemblies and did development work there,” he said.

Mr Haider said it was not the government of the PML-N but of the elite and fundamentalists. “The Muslim League used to align local influentials to come to power. It has no ideology of its own.”

Published in Dawn February 9th , 2015

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