Military Offensive Derails Pakistan Taleban Peace Talks

In the wake of military operations in volatile north-west Pakistan, Taleban militants have hanged up regional peace talks with the provincial government, informs a Taliban negotiator.

Recently, Pakistani army and Taleban militants had a gunbattle in Lower Dir in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), leading to a quick run-away of hundreds of civilians from the region to save their life.

Talebans have been operating in the region for quite some time now insisting on enactment of Sharia law. Reacting to them, NWFP government had worked out a pact providing for introduction of Sharia law in return for an end to the insurgency.

Needless to add, the Talebans infiltration into Pakistan to press the government for medieval Islamic law has been a cause of concern for the West and US, with US authorities forcing Pakistan for strict action on Talebans. Also, even Pakistani critics have disparaged the agreement terming it as a “capitulation to militants”.

Ameer Izzat Khan, a spokesman for Sufi Muhammad, the cleric who negotiated the deal between the government and the Taleban, said that their council of leaders met on Sunday night and decided to suspend peace negotiations with the government in North West Frontier Province. According to him, Taleban still wanted to adhere to the peace deal, agreed in February.

Khan said Sufi Muhammad was cut off in his village in Lower Dir and no talks could take place until communication was restored.

“We are demanding a suspension of the operation so that Sufi Muhammad is able to get out of his village.”

He added: “The operation is contrary to the peace agreement, and we believe there is no point talking peace when there is violence in the area. But a decision on that will be taken by our (council).”

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