Pak Asks Taliban to Announce Truce Before Peace Talks

Pak Asks Taliban to Announce Truce Before Peace Talks
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik today called on the Taliban to announce a month-long truce to pave the way for peace talks which the militants offered earlier this month.

The government is ready for a dialogue with the Taliban provided they announce a ceasefire and appoint some sincere clerics for a Jirga to achieve purposeful results, Malik said while interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an official function here.

"First there should be a ceasefire and peace talks can be held only after it," he said.

"The nation has rejected Talibanisation. This is the voice of the majority. Come forward, announce a one-month ceasefire and then hold negotiations," he added.

"If Taliban are sincere about holding talks, they should have announced a ceasefire and formed a Jirga comprising some serious and thoughtful people," Malik said.

He said the Taliban should know that the people of Pakistan have seen their real face and the country will not forgive the killing of innocent citizens, he said.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has stepped up attacks in recent weeks despite indicating that it is ready to hold talks with the government.

In a video released on February 3, Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said his group was willing to hold talks with the government if three opposition politicians, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, act as guarantors.

Sharif has urged the government to talk to the Taliban but refused to be a guarantor.

In December, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud too said he was ready for talks though his fighters would not disarm.
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