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 US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains 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.
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