Former Prime Minister and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif, who is the strongest contender for PM's post which will go to polls on May 11, said dialogue and not armed intervention is the answer to deal with terror groups in Pakistan.
He was speaking to Karan Thapar on a Devil's Advocate special from Lahore.
Here is the transcript:
Karan Thapar: One of the serious concerns the Army is tackling at the moment is the battle against the Taliban, and other jehadi organisations. General Kayani has made a recent speech calling upon all politicians to support the Army's fight against terror. Would you as Prime Minister be prepared to do that, or would you have certain reservations and concerns that you would take on board first.
Nawaz Sharif: This problem has to be solved on priority basis, there is no doubt about it and you can't solve all the problems through guns and bullets. You've got to also explore other options. Options of engagement may be those options work. In many countries problems have been solved by sitting across the table.
Karan Thapar: So you would start dialogue side by side with the war on terror, or would dialogue replace the war on terror.
Nawaz Sharif: No, I think all the options will have to be exercised.
Karan Thapar: Together?
Nawaz Sharif: Well this is what primarily, I mean, as I said, I mentioned that so many years have passed, have this problem been addressed in the right manner.
Karan Thapar: So I get a feeling if Nawaz Sharif becomes the PM there will be significant changes in the way terror is tackled. It won't simply be a military fight; you will also explore a dialogue at the same time.
Nawaz Sharif: It is not just Nawaz Sharif you see. We will have to have all the stakeholders sitting across the table, discuss the matter with them openly, candidly and very frankly and arrive at a policy and strategy that is workable.