Pakistan govt., Taliban militants begin secret talks
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 6, 2014 1:55PM GMT
The first secret meeting between the representatives of the Pakistani government and Taliban negotiators has begun at an undisclosed location.
The chief negotiator for the government side, Irfan Siddiqui, said the government committee would attend the talks with 'an open mind.'
However, a Taliban-nominated team says there is no chance of peace in Pakistan until Islamabad embraces Wahhabi laws across the violence-wracked country.
The talks are aimed at ending years of fighting in the country's troubled northwestern region.
The militants are highly active in Pakistan's tribal regions, which border neighboring Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in a rare address to the parliament, Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif has said 'terrorism' must be defeated, either by talks or force, and he was giving peace a last chance.
Prominent Pakistani politicians are deeply skeptical about the ongoing controversial talks and see it as a sign of weakness on the part of the government.
The son of the assassinated former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, has strongly condemned the ongoing dialogue process between the Islamabad government and Taliban.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has recently accused Sharif of "letting down the people" by not backing a military action against terrorist groups operating across the country.
"There is no reason why the national leaders, the so-called leaders, should not speak out against people who are murdering our citizens, murdering our armed forces and claiming responsibility," he added.
Senior civilian and military officials have also repeatedly said militants cannot "coerce" Islamabad into accepting their terms in the government-initiated peace process.
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