Karachi & Lahore Nazims Differ on Govt.'s Move to Talk to Militants
Washington, DC: Karachi City Nazim Mustafa Kamal was quoted as saying in an American newspaper Monday that he has little confidence in Pakistan government's new strategy of talking to militants as part of the war on terror.
Kamal, whose current trip to the United States has been sponsored by the State Department, told The Chicago Tribune during a visit to Chicago last week that he was "not optimistic about these dialogues. Pakistan will face more attacks and more challenges. It will go from bad to worse."
The newspaper said Kamal came to Chicago to promote his city and a 10,000-seat call-center tower being built there. The Karachi Nazim's trip to the U.S., it said, follows a visit to Karachi this year by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, with whom he had a detailed meeting in Washington.
"What I have been telling them (the Americans), and [what] they're realizing now, is that there's an influx of militants coming in from the northern areas and residing in Karachi, grabbing land and creating madrassas", said Kamal, who belongs to MQM.
The Tribune noted that U.S. officials also have expressed reservations about negotiations with militants such as Baitullah Mehsud, who was accused in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Initially, the new government said it would engage "innocent" tribes, hoping to persuade tribal leaders to stop harbouring militants, The Tribune quoted Kamal as saying.
"These agreements, these dialogues, they've done them before," he said. "No proven result has come from that."
But Lahore Nazim Mian Amer Mahmood, who was also in Chicago attending the Richard Daley Urban Forum with 49 other mayors from around the globe, supported the new government, saying talks with militants were necessary.
"You have to talk to people," Mahmood told The Chicago Tribune in a separate interview. "It should be a combination of discussion and enforcement of law."