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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid