News / Asia

    Taliban Leader Claims Peace Talks Going On With Pakistan

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan. (file)
    Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan. (file)
    Ayaz Gul

    A senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban says his group has opened peace talks with the government.

    The Pakistani Taliban’s Deputy Commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, while speaking to local reporters by telephone, revealed that his group is negotiating a peace deal with the government and that the talks are progressing well.

    Giving further details, the militant leader says he believes any peace deal emerging from the dialogue could be used as a “role model” for the rest of insurgency-hit districts in northwestern Pakistan, most of which are on the border with Afghanistan.

    The Taliban commander says the government has also released scores of his fighters as a goodwill gesture and in return militants have halted their attacks.

    No direct confirmation

    Without directly confirming reports of alleged peace talks with militants, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told a local TV station holding such talks is part of his government’s policy, and it is a continuing process.

    “First is dialogue, the other is development and the third is deterrence. That [peace talks] is a part of our policy,” he said.

    The Pakistani prime minister did not give further details.

    Reports of talks between the government and Taliban militants have been carried by local and foreign media outlets recently, but both sides had denied them.  At the time, Pakistani officials had stated that there would be no talks unless militants lay down their arms.

    Pakistan in the past has struck peace deals with Taliban insurgents but they did not last long and militants used the lull in fighting to regroup.

    The Pakistani Taliban has carried out hundreds of attacks prompting the government to launch major military offensives to root out their bases.

    Political and public demands for engaging in peace talks with militants have also intensified in Pakistan.

    A government-sponsored national conference of Pakistan’s political and military leaders in September ended with a resolution to "give peace a chance" with militants.

    While U.S officials are pushing for talks to end the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, they are unlikely to support Pakistan’s peace initiatives with local Taliban forces because of their close association with al-Qaida-led militants.

    Ties with NATO, U.S. still problematic

    Reports of peace talks come amid Islamabad’s growing tensions with Washington following last month’s NATO airstrikes on Pakistani border posts that killed 24 soldiers.

    Pakistan condemned the “unprovoked” attack and responded by closing border crossings used by NATO to supply its forces in Afghanistan. It also told Washington to vacate an airbase in southwestern Pakistan by December 11 and has vowed to review anti-terror cooperation with international forces.

    Prime Minister Gilani in his Saturday remarks reiterated that, on his instructions, lawmakers are preparing recommendations for future relationship with the United States.

    “We want to have maintained excellent relations with the United States but [based] on mutual respect and mutual interest,” he said.

    The United States insists the airstrikes on Pakistani border posts were not intentional.   U.S. officials say an investigation into what it calls a "terrible tragedy" is expected to be concluded later this month.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora