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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid counter-terror intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
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