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Pak ready for talks with militants if they surrender

Islamabad: Describing terrorism and extremism as the "biggest threat" to Pakistan, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said his government is ready to hold talks with militants who "decommission" themselves and surrender to political authorities in the country`s restive tribal belt.

"If they decommission themselves and surrender to the political agents, then we are ready to hold talks with them," Gilani told reporters on the sidelines of an official function here.

"We cannot hold talk with terrorists," he said.

The world knows that the "biggest threat" facing Pakistan comes from terrorism and extremism, he added.

The government will not make any compromises on national security as terrorism is responsible for the economic challenges confronting the country, Gilani said in response to questions from the media.

The war on terrorism is being fought by the government in consultation with the leadership of all political parties, he said.

Operations against militants had been successful because they were backed by the people and the political leadership, he said.

Though law and order is a provincial issue, federal and provincial authorities have to jointly tackle terrorism as its effects are being felt everywhere, the Premier said.

Collective wisdom is also needed to contain violence in the financial hub of Karachi and consultations are being held to find a solution, he said.

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