News / Asia

Sharif Calls for Peace Talks With Pakistani Taliban

Pakistan's incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses his party's newly elected MPs in Lahore on May 20, 2013
Pakistan's incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses his party's newly elected MPs in Lahore on May 20, 2013
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, who is set to become prime minister for a third time after his party won recent parliamentary elections, on Monday called for peace talks with domestic Taliban extremists, saying “this is the best option” to fight militancy.

Addressing newly elected federal and provincial lawmakers of his Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party in Lahore, Sharif described terrorism as “the most serious challenge” facing the country.
 
Without eliminating this “menace” and establishing peace in Pakistan, he added, attempts to revive the national economy and overcome a deepening energy crisis will not succeed.  
 
The presumptive prime minister has in the past favored peace talks between the militants and the government, but Monday’s statement was the first time he has done so publicly since his party scored a resounding victory in May 11 national elections.  
 
Sharif says he has long called for resolving the issue of militancy through peaceful negotiations because using “guns and bullets only” can never be a solution to the problem. The “offer should be taken seriously,” he says, if Taliban militants are ready to engage in a peace dialogue with the government.  
 
He was referring to a recent offer of peace talks by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, which is an alliance of Islamist groups waging a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani state.
 
Sharif says that the bloody war has killed more than 40,000 Pakistanis and caused billions of dollars in losses to the national economy.
 
He says there is nothing wrong in sitting across the table and engaging in talks with militants. “If it can help bring peace to the country, in my view it is the best option,” the former prime minister added.
 
Pakistan’s partnership in the U.S.-led counter-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan and military offensive against Taliban bases in the northwestern border regions over the past decade has prompted retaliatory suicide and other terrorist attacks in the country.  
 
Recent media reports quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying they may declare a ceasefire if the Sharif party demonstrated seriousness in holding peace talks.
 
Critics are skeptical about the success of any future talks between Pakistani authorities and the Taliban. Previous peace deals with the militants, they say, have only allowed the insurgents to regroup.
 
Sharif is seen as a conservative Muslim and has always enjoyed the support of right-wing forces in the country.  His party is expected to form a stable government at the federal level and in two of the country’s four provinces, including Punjab, the power base of Pakistan.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid