Pakistan govt and Taliban renew peace talks

Government negotiators tell Taliban leadership that attacks must end for peace talks to continue.

Pakistan govt and Taliban renew peace talks
World Bulletin / News Desk

A Pakistan government-appointed team of negotiators demanded that the Taliban halt attacks on Pakistan's security forces, when they directly contacted the group's leadership for peace talks, for the first time, on Friday. 
 
In a phone call with the leadership of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the umbrella group for different Taliban branches, the negotiators made the ending of violence a condition for continued negotiations. 

“The government negotiators spoke to the head of TTP’s Shura (consultative body), Qari Shakeel, and spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid for a good half an hour, and made it clear that they have to end the terrorist attacks if they really want peace talks with the government,” Maulana Yousaf Shah, the coordinator of the TTP's negotiating team, told reporters after the meeting.

He did not disclose the names of the government negotiators who spoke to the TTP leaders on condition of anonymity, that they were head negotiator Irfan Siddiqui, and Rustum Shah Mohmind, a former ambassador to Afghanistan.

Yousaf admitted that both TTP and government negotiators were of the opinion that the attacks which have taken place after beginning of the peace process could potentially derail the exercise.

“We too have asked the TTP leaders to stop attacks on security forces, otherwise it could hamper and halt it altogether the peace process," Yousaf added.

Maulana Yousaf said that the TTP leadership did not give any assurance that their attacks will end.

“We are trying to save the talks from collapse,” an apparently desperate Yousaf said, admitting that the recent spate of attacks has made the Taliban negotiators' job difficult.

Opposition leader, Khursheed Shah, on the other hand, believes that the possibility of ending the Taliban insurgency through talks is shrinking.

“The recent attacks on security forces, despite the fact talks are underway, reflect how serious Taliban are in talks,” said Shah.

Some 45 people, including two dozen security personnel have been killed since Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif began the process for peace talks on January 29.

The TTP said it carried out the bomb attack on police on Thursday to avenge the abduction and killing of its members in parts of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) province, and the commercial capital Karachi.
Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2014, 12:34
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