The much-awaited dialogue process has started between Pakistan and the Taliban.
While confirming the initial contacts, the Taliban said talks encompassing a range of issues, including prevention of sectarian violence and snapping of ties with al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were held.
A senior government official said on the condition of anonymity that the benefit in terms of these dialogues had started trickling down in advance.
The government had already completed much home work on this count, he said. The official, however, declined to provide more details of the talks or the benefit. The killing Waliur Rehman in a US drone strike had caused serious harm to the dialogue process and its negative impact had now been dispelled.
“The talks’-specific contacts have been restored again after much endeavor,” the official said.
A leading Taliban leader said on condition of not being named that the talks took place on a good number of issues, including prevention of sectarian attacks in Pakistan and breaking relations with outfits like al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
This is the first time that the PML-N-led government has confirmed its contacts with the Taliban.
Observers opine that it appeared from “benefit accrued” that the government had succeeded in persuading the Taliban into suspending their activities to some extent. “But it seems the contacts are in elementary stage because the government is evolving a comprehensive national policy on counter terrorism,” they said.
They said consultation continued with all major parties with regard to the policy and it would be given a final shape and announced within a few weeks.
The government sources said the dialogue would be their first option.
Western diplomats in Islamabad say Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani agree that talks can be held if the militants agree on respecting the sovereignty of Pakistani state, law and constitution and cease fire.
One diplomat said, “This is a red line the violation of which is not acceptable to both sides. Cracks had already appeared in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan before the offer for talks was extended to the Taliban.”
Chief of Punjabi Taliban Asmatullah Muawia had welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer for talks on August 22, but the central TTP leadership was unhappy over it.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said in his address to the nation following assumption of his office that the government had more than 100 options to deal with the menace of terrorism.
“But prudence demands that such an avenue be adopted that no more loss of innocent lives takes place,” Nawaz had said.
Citing extremism, the PM had said, “I want an end to the game of blood and fire as soon as possible. It does not matter if this end is achieved on the negotiating table through reconciliation or with use of state force.”
After "successful" talks, NS will become first Ameer-ul-Momineen and next term will be for Taliban.
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