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

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. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid