News / Asia

Pakistani Taliban Announces Cease-Fire to Revive Peace Talks

FILE - A policeman stands guard outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, where negotiations took place between Pakistani government officials and Taliban negotiators, in Islamabad, February 6, 2014.
FILE - A policeman stands guard outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, where negotiations took place between Pakistani government officials and Taliban negotiators, in Islamabad, February 6, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
An outlawed alliance of extremist outfits, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is commonly referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, says it will observe a one-month cease-fire to allow peace talks with the government to resume.

Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid announced Saturday the senior leadership of the militant group had instructed all of its subgroups to abide the cease-fire. The militant organization cited a “positive” government response to its proposals for ending the deadlock in the dialogue process.

FILE - Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, center, flanked by bodyguards, talks to reporters at undisclosed location, Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, Oct. 5, 2013.FILE - Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, center, flanked by bodyguards, talks to reporters at undisclosed location, Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, Oct. 5, 2013.
x
FILE - Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, center, flanked by bodyguards, talks to reporters at undisclosed location, Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, Oct. 5, 2013.
FILE - Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, center, flanked by bodyguards, talks to reporters at undisclosed location, Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, Oct. 5, 2013.
The announcement nearly coincided with reports that gunmen in northwest Pakistan on Saturday killed at least 11 security officers escorting a team of health workers who came to vaccinate children against polio.

The attack was carried out in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, near the border with Afghanistan.

It is unclear who was behind the attack.

The government suspended previous negotiation attempts when insurgents in the northwest said they had killed 23 Pakistani troops.

Government forces have pounded suspected militant hideouts in the northwest with airstrikes in recent days, and there had been speculation in Pakistan that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was on the verge of ordering a full-scale military offensive against militant bases.

The Pakistani Taliban has wanted to overthrow the government and establish its own hard-line form of Islam across the country. Militant attacks have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis.

New opportunity?

Government peace negotiators welcomed Saturday's declaration of a cease-fire as a “breakthrough development," and the announcement seems to have injected new life into efforts Sharif has undertaken to bring an end to years of militant violence in Pakistan.

A government delegation held preliminary talks with TTP intermediaries last month but continued militant attacks against security forces and civilians provoked Sharif to suspend the peace process. He linked its resumption to a declaration of unconditional cease-fire by the militants.

Former parliamentarian Sami ul-Haq, a Taliban peace negotiator, says the call for a cease-fire offers a new opportunity for both sides to re-engage in peace talks that could lead to an end to bloodshed in the country.

Both sides “need to avail this God-sent opportunity to build mutual confidence and create a conducive atmosphere for the peace dialogue,” he said.

However, critics of the peace process such as Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., are warning the government against engaging in talks with an anti-state group.

“The TTP represents an ideological group which has an idea which it wants to impose on the country by force through any means because it is so sacred, in their eyes, that they will resort to anything," said Qazi. [The government is] surrendering [its] fundamental obligation to protect the people by elevating this group to almost equal status ... and that of course sends extremely negative signals within the country and outside.”

The TTP is considered a loose alliance of dozens of militant groups with varying agendas and critics are unsure whether the organization can enforce the so-called cease-fire. Critics cited Saturday’s back-to-back explosions in the northwestern tribal district that targeted the polio vaccination team. The attacks killed more than a dozen people, mostly policemen escorting the anti-polio workers.

Islamist militants are blamed for deadly attacks on polio teams, alleging the campaign against the crippling disease is being used as a tool for spying and the vaccine makes boys sterile. The violence has undermined anti-polio efforts in Pakistan, one of the few remaining countries where the virus persists.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
March 02, 2014 4:19 AM
Taliban Pakistani are not looking for peace. All they are looking for is killing, money and Basha Bazi . They may looking for peace for short time to retreat and reorganize their force to fight back. since Saudi and gulf countries are giving money. they can use money to get arm and fight. killing is a enjoyment they want. once the killing is over, , they kidnapped a male child and sexually abuse him .all their crime are with the name of allah

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
March 01, 2014 11:13 PM
This is very very sad affairs in Pakistan. The main object to create Pakistan to safeguard interest of MUSLIMS. But what happened in the last 67 years, is infront of whole world. Muslims are not safe in Mosques and other religious places. Where as in India Muslims have full liberty of their religion and faith. There is no police in front of religious places in india. Whereas in whole Pakistan police is to protect Mosques. Shias are the main victim in the last 67 years. They have sacrificed to create a peace ful place for them. I been to Pakistan and saw horrible safety and security position for shias and other minorities. More than 40,000/= shias have been killed bruetly in the name of ISLAM.Islam never teach to use force for others to convert Muslim. But this is going on in Pakistan in the name of islam, Hindu and Chiristians are changing their religion by force, which is totally against the teaching of ISLAM. I donot know why govt is not taking any harsh action whereas whole PAKISTANI are crying for safety against these criminals in the name of ISLAM AND QURAN.

by: Hussain Naqvi from: Islamabad
March 01, 2014 9:52 PM
Since PML (N) brought to the power with the popular votes of terrorists therefore they are negotiating pretending to be safeguarding the people life.Otherwise on the sameday when the terrorists announced their cezier of their activities they killed only 13 innocent security persons.Is this the right course of negotiations? Since the elites are safe therefore they donot care for the massacre of the masses by the terrorists.If the rulers are sincer they should go for full fledged operation against the takfiri forces playing with the lives of innocents.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs