News / Asia

Pakistani Minister Rules Out Political Concessions to Taliban

FILE - Pro-Taliban representatives attend a joint news conference after their talks with government representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 6, 2014.
FILE - Pro-Taliban representatives attend a joint news conference after their talks with government representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 6, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
A key minister in Pakistan said Tuesday that local Taliban insurgents involved in peace talks with the government are asking for a political role in any future arrangement to stabilize the violence-plagued tribal territory on the Afghan border.  The minister, however, says the Taliban will not be given such a role.  

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently initiated a peace process with the Pakistani Taliban to negotiate an end to years of violence that has claimed thousands of lives.
 
The Islamist militants are entrenched in Pakistan's volatile Federally Administered Tribal Areas, known as FATA, from where they direct anti-state activities and allegedly sponsor cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.  
 
The Pakistani Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Abdul Qadir Baloch, says that militant activities and counterinsurgency army offensives in the past decade have weakened state control over FATA.

Addressing an international seminar in Islamabad Tuesday, he said the government is trying to find ways to reestablish its authority in the border region and the ongoing peace process is part of those efforts.
 
The minister ruled out any possibility of giving political concessions to Taliban militants, condemning them as “murderers and killers.”
 
“Taliban even today are asking for some sort of a role in future arrangement of the FATA area.  Whatever I have learned in these eight or nine months that I have been the minister of FATA area, I don’t find any place for them in that society, I just don’t find any place for them.  They just cannot be tolerated," said Baloch.
 
Baloch went on to suggest that even if a settlement is reached with the Taliban, the local tribal population is unlikely to reconcile with the militants.
 
“Hundreds and hundreds of people have been killed by the Taliban.  There is a tribal tradition, tribal people take revenge and the revenge killings are going to then start off.  So, even if a solution is found out there cannot be a space left for those elements of the Taliban who have been involved in killing of tribal people, in displacements, in bringing about those miseries to the tribal people," he said.
 
Prime Minister Sharif’s peace initiative has drawn criticism from within and outside the country because the government has until now refused to discuss its agenda for the talks with the Taliban, or to say how far it is willing to go to negotiate peace.
 
Critics have said the government should not talk with extremists who have the blood of Pakistanis on their hands and have condemned the country’s political system as un-Islamic.
 
Sharif and his advisers defend the peace process, saying they want to try all possible peaceful means before considering a military offensive again Taliban strongholds, which are primarily located in the rugged mountainous tribal territory called North Waziristan.

A government delegation was to be flown to an undisclosed so-called “peace zone” for direct talks with Taliban officials on Tuesday but bad weather reportedly prevented them from undertaking the journey.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid