Pakistan govt in secret talks with Taliban
Information Minister Pervez Rashid told Dawn newspaper unofficial talks were in progress with the Taliban at different, as the government was exploring all options to restore lasting peace.
On Friday, a pro-Taliban leader said in Islamabad a forum of responsible individuals was being created to enter dialogue with the fighters within a month. A formula had already been worked out, Maulana Fazlur Rahman told reporters.
Rashid verified the statement of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F), saying: “Maulana Sahib is a responsible person and whatever he said is correct.” However, he did not elaborate on the level of talks and the insurgent outfit being contacted.
“I cannot say with which group of Taliban we are holding talks with, because today we are talking with two groups and if another group wants to join, we will welcome it too,” the minister said, indicating the negotiation offer was for all outfits.
The authorities have established contacts with Taliban, according to JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai, who said certain steps had been taken behind the scenes. “The strategy is being discussed by the government with allied parties.”
A senior Taliban leader also confirmed to Dawn initial contacts between the militants and the government. The preliminary talks focused on prevention of sectarian violence and Taliban’s snapping of ties with Al Qaeda and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi networks.
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