Pakistan government-Taliban peace talks remain suspended

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Pakistani government negotiators say their peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban can progress only if the banned group stops its violence immediately.

The negotiating committee met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose government initiated the pace talks with the TTP or the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan two weeks ago to the deadly terrorist violence of the past seven years which have claimed hundreds of lives.


The committee said the talks, which began two weeks ago, cannot progress without the Taliban unconditionally and immediately ceases its violence, DawnNews reported.

The recent acts of violence, even as the talks continued, included the Feb. 13 blast in Karachi that killed 13 policemen, and the killing of 23 abducted paramilitary soldiers last Sunday, claimed by a faction of the Talban in Mohmand tribal agency.

Dawn quoted the committee members as saying they had been patient but that the reaction from other side was discouraging with the continuance of violent activities. The members said the situation change completely after the Mohmand incident.

Because of these developments, the committee members unanimously decided that holding further talks with the Taliban committee would be a meaningless effort, Dawn reported.


Separately, Dawn quoted a TTP spokesman as saying in a telephone talk that his group remained serious about peace negotiations.

Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman, was quoted as saying the Taliban leadership was in contact with all factions about the cease-fire and a decision would be taken soon.

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