News / Asia

Pakistani Authorities Consider New Peace Talks Offer from Taliban

Ayaz Gul
Pakistani opposition parties and their political allies are increasing pressure on the coalition government to consider a recent offer of peace talks from the Pakistani Taliban. Supporters hope the effort may pave the way for ensuring peace during upcoming national elections.  However, analysts are skeptical about whether it is worth talking peace at a time when opinion across Pakistan remains deeply divided on how to counter militancy.

Ever since the Pakistani Taliban released a video, earlier this month, offering a set of conditions for peace talks, the initiative has been seized by opposition parties as well as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as an idea the government should pursue.
 
Government officials have yet to formally accept or reject the offer of peace talks by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Presidential spokesman Senator Farhattullah Babar says the government has engaged in talks with militants, in the past, to try to end the violence.
 
“We are not averse to [the] dialogue," he stated. "But if the dialogue does not succeed and if those who are opposed to the ideology of Pakistan, those who are opposed to the constitution and the parliament of Pakistan and those who insist on militancy, then of course the law enforcing agencies will come into action.”
 
Pakistani security forces have been battling domestic Taliban militants for nearly a decade. But the prolonged military campaign has not been able to uproot insurgent bases from tribal districts along the Afghan border.
 
In recent years, Pakistani authorities have sought to end the fighting in some areas, through peace agreements with various Taliban factions.  But the deals drew international criticism for eroding rights in Taliban-held areas and did not bring lasting peace.   
 
Despite those past failures, some major Islamic political parties in Pakistan that have long opposed the use of military force against the militants, remain open supporters of peace talks.  
 
However, Pakistani media have become more critical. Recent newspaper editorials have warned political parties against accommodating the militants. Instead, they have urged them to forge unity to defeat the extremist forces that are using violence to impose their ideology on Pakistanis.
 
Speaking to VOA by telephone from an undisclosed location Sunday night, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsan said his group stood by its offer and is still awaiting a response from the Pakistani government.
 
The spokesman justified recent attacks on security forces, despite offering peace talks to the government, saying their “fight will continue and any ceasefire will be entirely linked to progress in proposed peace talks.”
 
Mushahid Hussain is the chairman of Senate Defense Committee and a member of a key coalition party.  He says that the offer of peace talks by the Taliban comes at a time when political parties are gearing up for the election and the issue will probably be taken up in a substantive manner after the polls, when a new government is in place.  

“So, given that context, I think it may not be easy for the present government to initiate that process. And, I think this might even become an election issue.  And, I think the important element is to have a consensus, broadly speaking, among the political forces in parliament and political forces outside parliament for such a dialogue,” said Hussain.
 
Pakistani militants have long argued they are fighting security forces to punish Islamabad for joining hands with Washington in its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some Islamic parties and conservative groups in the country insist that the militants will end violence and blend in with mainstream Pakistani society once foreign forces leave Afghanistan.
 
Asad Munir, a former brigadier of the Pakistani spy agency, ISI, says that engaging the TTP in peace talks is unlikely to resolve the issue of terrorism. But he says authorities should still consider their offer because it could help reveal the Taliban’s true intentions.
 
“It is going to help in developing a consensus in the country. People may come to know the real intention of Taliban that what do they want. I am convinced I have no doubts that they want power.  They want to rule [the country]," said Munir. "They have nothing to do with the jihad, [with] the American forces in Afghanistan. They have their own agenda. So, let they people know that what do they really want?”
 
Munir says the Taliban has never hidden its agenda and condemns Pakistan’s present governance system as un-Islamic and wants to change it through jihad or the holy war.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs