ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's All Parties Conference focusing on "terrorism" would be held on February 9, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday, adding that the political leadership would aim to form a consensus on militancy and other challenges.
Last week, the prime minister announced holding the APC on Tuesday, February 7 to discuss Pakistan's "national challenges." Amid political tensions, the premier invited his predecessor, Imran Khan, to attend the conference as well. However, Khan's aide Asad Umar said Khan had declined the invitation and would not be part of the APC.
Sharif's invitation to all political parties' representatives to attend the APC came at the backdrop of rising militant attacks in Pakistan. The South Asian country also faces a host of economic problems, as its reserves decline to a nine-year low of $3 billion, barely enough to cover three weeks of imports.
Experts warn Pakistan's depreciating rupee and energy requirements could exacerbate import inflation in the country and result in social unrest. Political tensions, meanwhile, remain high in the country as Khan—ousted via a parliamentary vote in April last year—accuses the government of colluding with Washington to remove him from power. Both Sharif and Washington have rejected the allegations.
Last week, over 80 people were killed while over 100 were injured in a suicide attack that targeted a mosque in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city. A senior Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the attack, which was later denied by the group.
"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's All Parties Conference on the issue of terrorism will be held on Thursday, February 9 in Islamabad instead of on February 7," Aurangzeb wrote on Twitter.
She said Pakistan's political leadership would aim to create a joint strategy to combat militancy, economic challenges and would also review the National Action Plan.
Last week, over 80 people were killed while more than 100 were injured in a suicide attack that targeted a mosque in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city. A senior Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the attack, which was later denied by the group.
Following the Army Public School massacre in 2014, when over 100 schoolchildren were gunned down by the Pakistani Taliban, the government came up with an action plan to counter militancy in the country and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
A 20-point action plan, known as the National Action Plan, was drafted by Pakistan's interior ministry which was approved by all relevant stakeholders in December 2014. However, critics argue that successive governments have not acted upon the action plan.