Wednesday, 30th July 2014

Pakistan to start direct talks with Taliban next week


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ISLAMABAD, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani parliament was informed on Thursday that the government would begin direct dialogue with the Taliban militants next week.

A government dialogue committee is presently engaged in talks with the Taliban intermediaries and some official members had suggested a new panel for direct talks with the Taliban after the ceasefire.

"We have decided to speed up the dialogue process and to initiate direct talks with the Taliban from next week," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced in the National Assembly or Lower House of the parliament.

"We will hold dialogue with those who are willing to talk and will give a tough response if anyone is involved in terrorism," Khan said.

"Many groups want dialogue and they do not want enmity with Pakistan. They think the government of former President Pervez Musharraf had launched operation against them and that is why they had resorted to violence."

He said the new government committee will comprise the federal and a representative from the Khyber Pakhunkhwa province, which is the main victim of terrorism.

"The government committee will meet the Taliban committee in few days to chalk out the next strategy," the interior minister said. He said the government has also sought clarification from the Taliban as to who are behind the recent terror attacks if they are not behind.

He said the dialogue process with the Taliban is being held as it had been recommended by all parliamentary leaders last year.

"Our target is to start dialogue with the Taliban next week," he said.

He lashed out at those who are opposing the dialogue and are calling for military operations, saying that military operations have caused severe damages to infrastructure including schools, universities, colleges, hospitals and courts. He said previous government had not focused on the dialogue option in 13 years and are now raising objections at the peace process.

Talking about the Monday's suicide attack on the Islamabad's court which had killed 11 people, including a judge, he said the government will expose who were behind the terror attack.

Khan clarified that the judge, who was killed during the attack, was in fact hit by bullets of the court's guard who fired mistakenly after one suicide bomber blew himself up some 50 meters away from the court. He said the guard has also confessed his mistake to investigators. He said the attackers' target was another judge but he was not in the court at the time of the attack.

A less known group "Ahrar-ul-Hind" had claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pakistani Taliban had denied involvement.


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