News / Asia

Pakistan Wants Talks With Insurgents Despite Attacks

A relative attends to a man, who was injured in a bomb blast, after he was brought to a hospital for treatment in Hangu district, bordering North Waziristan, Pakistan, Oct. 3, 2013.
A relative attends to a man, who was injured in a bomb blast, after he was brought to a hospital for treatment in Hangu district, bordering North Waziristan, Pakistan, Oct. 3, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
— Despite a recent series of bloody militant attacks in the country’s northwest, Pakistan insists it is determined to pursue peace talks with Islamist insurgents to bring an end to the violence.
 
Pakistan has witnessed several deadly bombings within the past two weeks that have killed nearly 200 people. Most of the bloodshed has occurred in and around the northwestern city of Peshawar, including a massive suicide attack on Christian worshipers.
 
The latest violent incident happened on Thursday near the insurgency-plagued northwestern tribal district, Orakzai, when a suicide bomber killed at least 17 people believed to be helping the government in its anti-militancy efforts.
 
The ongoing violence has prompted many to question Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s plans, backed by political parties across the board, to seek peace talks with the Islamist militants who are waging an insurgency under an umbrella organization called Terhik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.
 
Despite the rise in violent attacks and resulting criticism, the prime minister’s adviser on national security and foreign policy, Sartaj Aziz, on Thursday defended the government’s policy.
 
“I think despite these incidents the dialogue option should be pursued, because Taliban are many groups and many of them do want to [engage in talks], and they have unanimously said that they want to pursue the dialogue. There are some elements who would like to disrupt the dialogue but the whole purpose of the dialogue is to put an end to such incidents,” said Aziz.
 
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Thursday’s suicide car bombing, but the group has denied involvement in other recent attacks, including a twin suicide bombing targeting a church in Peshawar that killed more than 80 members of the minority Christian community.
 
Taliban extremists have demanded the government release all militant prisoners and remove Pakistani troops from the northwestern tribal region, where insurgents are entrenched, before they engage in peace talks. The militants are also demanding an end to the U.S. drone strikes in the tribal areas.
 
Aziz reiterated that the drone campaign violates Pakistan’s sovereignty and said collateral damage from such attacks is fueling militancy. He stated that Pakistani authorities have taken up this issue with American leaders, and the prime minister also raised it in his address last week to the United Nations General Assembly.
 
“So, we will continue our pressure on this subject and I hope the U.S. will find it reasonable, particularly in terms of not achieving the objectives, that it is counterproductive and they will therefore respond and stop the drone attacks in the tribal areas,” said Aziz.
 
Taliban militants also want Pakistan to end its alliance with the United States, alleging the country has become part of an anti-Muslim war. National Security Adviser Aziz says one of the main objectives of the government in seeking talks with the Taliban is to do away with this perception.

Pakistani commentators, analysts and newspapers editorials have consistently criticized and advised the government against a peace dialogue with the militants. They insist the country's constitution does not allow the government to engage in such negotiations with armed groups that condemn Pakistan's political system as un-Islamic and want to impose through violent means their brand of Islamic system.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid