Pakistan defends talks with Taliban for peace as it may end crisis

Written by: IANS
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Pakistan defends talks with Taliban
Islamabad, Oct 4:  Pakistan's top security adviser on Thursday defended the government's policy to initiate dialogue with the Taliban for peace.

The comments came hours after a group of Taliban suicide bombers attacked a rival commander in a country's tribal region for his quest for peace and killed 15 people.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government decided to begin talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan following the last month's parliamentary leaders' call for dialogue.

The recent three deadly attacks in the country's northwest and the killing of a top military general have spoiled atmosphere for the proposed talks. However, the Pakistani government insists it will pursue the dialogue process for peace.

"Objective of dialogue with Taliban is to establish peace as Pakistan has suffered a lot due to terrorism," Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said.

Speaking at a joint press conference along with British Senior Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, he said peace dialogue should be given a chance as the country's political leadership is united on the issue.

He said the recent attacks should not derail the process. "There are some elements who would like to disrupt the dialogue but the whole purpose of the dialogue is to put an end to such incidents," he said.

"I think despite these incidents the dialogue option should be pursued, because Taliban are many groups and many of them do want to (engage in talks), and they have unanimously said that they want to pursue the dialogue," Aziz added.

Objective of talk is to establish peace

A group of senior religious clerics on Thursday urged the Taliban to declare ceasefire and stop attacks to make the dialogue process successful.

Several known religious leaders, including teachers of the Taliban, called upon the Taliban, the security forces and the government, to declare ceasefire prior to the talks.

The Taliban said that they would declare ceasefire if the government stopped US drone strikes. It had previously demanded release of their prisoners and withdrawal of forces from the tribal regions.


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