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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid