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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid