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

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid