Words, not guns, to be used on Islamic militants
Party expected to lead new government plans talks with guerrillas linked to al-Qaeda
by SAEED SHAH
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN — The party expected to lead the new government of Pakistan's terrorism-racked North West Frontier Province plans to follow a radical new policy: opening up peace talks with Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda.
The Awami National Party, which won the most seats in last week's election in the Frontier province that borders Afghanistan, would abandon the largely military approach of the regime of President Pervez Musharraf that was heavily backed by Washington.
"The war on terror has failed," said Haji Mohammad Adeel, secretary-general of the ANP, in an interview at the party headquarters. "There should be no war. In world history, not a single war against guerrillas was successful. Only dialogue can solve these problems."
The ANP is expected to lead a coalition government in the Frontier, based in the provincial capital of Peshawar, and form part of a federal government coalition in Islamabad that would be led by the Pakistan People's Party. No party won an outright majority, either at the provincial or federal level in the Feb. 18 election. However, the Islamist parties that had governed the Frontier for the previous five years were wiped out in favour of the ANP and the Peoples Party, both secular parties.
While the defeat of the mullahs was welcomed in the West, the policy of the nationalist ANP toward the insurgency is not believed to have yet registered in Washington. The ANP has not governed for decades.
1) Words, not guns, to be used on Islamic militants