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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora