News / Asia

Sharif: Talks With Pakistani Taliban Are Underway

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif as he arrives for their trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Oct. 29, 2013.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif as he arrives for their trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Oct. 29, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Pakistan has started talks with the Pakistani Taliban in an effort to end the years of violence that have plagued the country. The announcement has brought mixed reactions from lawmakers and former political leaders.
 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Thursday in London that talks with the Taliban have begun. In a statement about his talks with British Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg, Sharif said the talks are taking place now, even as authorities in Islamabad boost their counter-terrorism efforts to deal with extremism in the country.
 
Since Sharif formed his government earlier this year, he says he has been trying to stop the killings, the bloodshed, the loss of life and property. He says the government is playing its part in fulfilling the wishes of the Pakistani nation.

The talks come with the backing of Pakistan’s political parties which have endorsed dialogue as a way to end the violent Taliban insurgency. Earlier this month, suicide bombings left almost 200 people dead.
 
Sharif did not offer details of the talks beyond saying he hopes the dialogue will remain within the framework of Pakistan's constitution. The Taliban have repeatedly demanded a stricter version of Islamic law than the constitution provides.
 
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, briefing Pakistani lawmakers Thursday, said details of the agenda and the location of government-Taliban talks are being finalized.
 
Former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said the negotiation process will not be quick or easy.
 
He said the talks are a very complicated matter, so expecting a breakthrough anytime soon is unrealistic. This is partly because there are so many elements within the Taliban posing obstacles to the dialogue. He added that everyone hopes that no violence will take place during the talks and set back the process of dialogue.
 
Retired military Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, who served for a number of years in Pakistan’s tribal northwest, said the Taliban's many offshoots are another concern.
 
"This is not a monolithic organization. This is a hydra-headed monster. So who do you talk to is one question. You talk to one person, the other fellow blows you up. You talk to the other person, the other fellow blows you up. So it's going to go on like that. The second part is, these are fellows who do not represent the aspirations of any peoples of Pakistan, and they are looking for political space through the use of force. And are you prepared to give them political space? If you are, then how far are you prepared to go?" asked Qadir.

The Taliban also have demanded that the government release the militants it still holds prisoner and that Pakistani military units leave their strongholds in the northwestern tribal regions. They also are calling for an end to all U.S. drone strikes in those areas.
 
Despite these hurdles, former minister Khan Sherpao said the decision to hold the talks is a positive development in and of itself, because too much blood already has been spilled.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid