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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

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

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade 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

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs