Incoming Pak Govt. to pursue dialogue over force against militants: NYT

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Islamabad, Mar 22 : Considering the increasing numbers of suicide attacks across Pakistan, the incoming government leaders have said that they would have parleys with the militants and the army would be used against them only if nothing works out.

According to The New York Times, the Bush Administration is not happy with this news, as it fears that holding talks would mean softening the stance toward the militants, and they might not also be able to use pilotless Predator drones against them.

Last month, during his visit to Islamabad the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen had said that talks with the militants were not helpful in the "short term."

A large number of Pakistanis also believe that 17 suicide attacks in the first 10 weeks of this year were carried out to avenge three Predator strikes since the beginning of 2008.

Pakistan People's Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his coalition partner Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League-N chief have said that they were determined to take a different course of action and would not follow President Pervez Musharraf path.

"We will deal with them very sensibly. And when you have a problem in your own family, you don't kill your own family. You sit and talk. After all, Britain also got the solution of the problem of Ireland. So what's the harm in conducting negotiations?" the report quoted Sharif, as saying.

Rejecting Musharraf regime's policies to curb terrorism, Zardari said: "Obviously what they have been doing for the last eight years has not been working. Even a fool knows that."

The two leaders, however, are still not sure with which militants group they would hold talks.

Sharif has denied commenting whether he would negotiate with Baitullah Mehsud, who is the prime suspect in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

"Nobody gave me any presentation on this subject," the paper quoted Sharif, as saying.

ANI

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