News / Asia

    Government Fails to Attend Talks With Pakistani Taliban

    Maulana Sami ul-Haq (C), one of the Taliban negotiators, answers a question during a news conference with his team members Ibrahim Khan (L) and Maulana Abdul Aziz (R) in Islamabad February 4, 2014.
    Maulana Sami ul-Haq (C), one of the Taliban negotiators, answers a question during a news conference with his team members Ibrahim Khan (L) and Maulana Abdul Aziz (R) in Islamabad February 4, 2014.
    Ayaz Gul
    Preliminary peace talks between the Pakistani government and and the Pakistani Taliban have been delayed after the government team failed to show up for a meeting in Islamabad Tuesday.

    Both sides were scheduled to meet at the office of Jamaat-e-Islami, a major Islamic party.  A group of Islamist leaders representing the Taliban appeared, but the government team decided at the last minute against attending the talks.  

    That move angered negotiator Sami ul-Haq, a radical Muslim cleric known as the Father of the Afghan Taliban.

    He said the government team has retreated because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has "come under pressure” for his peace initiative.  He did not elaborate and said Taliban doors are still open for talks, and both sides “need not waste this golden opportunity."  

    Government peace negotiator Rustum Shah Mohmand said in an interview with VOA that  the Taliban had originally appointed a five-member negotiating team, but two of them backed out Monday.

    “So, our committee was of the view that the best thing is let us wait for the Taliban committee to be completed and when it is fully constituted then we would make contact with them and meet them," Mohmand said.  "But in the meantime the Taliban said that this [three-member team] is the final committee ... and I think in a day or two we are going to meet [with them] now.”

    The Taliban team consists of leaders from Pakistani religious parties with representation in the national parliament, but there is no active leader or fighter of the insurgent group in the peace committee.

    Mohmand says he is not optimistic about productivity of the talks with the existing Taliban team, even though the government has agreed to participate in the talks because it wants to bring an end to bloodshed in Pakistan as soon as possible.

    “But real, meaningful productive [and] purposeful talks would be held with the members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban themselves because we believe that only they can take decisions on the vital issues like [exchange of] prisoners, like [presence of] foreign militants...like amnesty," he said. "These are very difficult and complex problems so they will have to sooner or later, in personal view, field their own team.”

    Islamist militants are waging a bloody insurgency against the state of Pakistan under an umbrella organization called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.  The outlawed group wants its brand of Islamic law in the country, release of its fighters from jail and government troops withdrawn from northwestern tribal areas of Pakistan, known for harboring local and foreign militants.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at an Independence Day ceremony on Aug. 14, 2013.Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at an Independence Day ceremony on Aug. 14, 2013.
    x
    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at an Independence Day ceremony on Aug. 14, 2013.
    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at an Independence Day ceremony on Aug. 14, 2013.
    Sharif has come under fire from liberal political forces and rights groups for engaging in peace talks with militants, who stage deadly attacks on Pakistanis and have claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of people in recent years.

    But the prime minster insists peaceful means can help solve the problem of the militancy and use of military force has in fact strengthened the insurgency.  Addressing a gathering of army officers Tuesday in Islamabad, he underscored the security threat facing Pakistan.  
    “The greatest challenge we face today is of law and order and internal security," Sharif said. " Broadly speaking, its manifestations include terrorism and extremism and sectarian conflict.  I have no illusions that this is an extremely complex issue.  It cannot be resolved by any one party or one institution.  It requires a response of the entire nation."

    Some critics describe the peace initiative as a violation of the country’s constitution, which does not allow the state to engage in talks with groups that condemn the national parliament as un-Islamic.  But government negotiator Mohmand says any talks with the Taliban will be held within the law.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora