Pakistan Taliban chief says group will negotiate, but not disarm

Published: December 28, 2012
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Hakimullah Mehsud says asking the Taliban to lay down arms is a joke. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Hakimullah Mehsud says asking the Taliban to lay down arms is a joke. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The head of Pakistan’s Taliban said his militia is willing to negotiate with the government but not disarm, a message delivered in a video given to Reuters on Friday.

The release of the 40-minute video follows three high-profile Taliban attacks in Peshawar this month: an attack by multiple suicide bombers on the airport, the killing of a senior politician and eight others in a bombing and the kidnap of 22 paramilitary forces on Thursday.

“We believe in dialogue but it should not be frivolous,” Hakimullah Mehsud said. “Asking us to lay down arms is a joke.”

In the video, Mehsud sits cradling a rifle next to his deputy, Waliur Rehman. Military officials say there has been a split between the two men but Mehsud said that was propaganda.

“Wali ur Rehman is sitting with me here and we will be together until death,” said Mehsud, pointing at his companion.

Pakistani officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

The Taliban said in a letter released Thursday that they wanted Pakistan to rewrite its laws and constitution to conform with Islamic law, break its alliance with the United States and stop interfering in the war in Afghanistan and focus on India instead.

Mehsud referred to the killing of senior politician Bashir Ahmed Bilour in his speech and said the political party, Awami National Party, would continue to be a target along with other politicians.

“We are against the democratic system because it is un-Islamic,” Mehsud said.

“Our war isn’t against any party. It is against the non-Islamic system and anyone who supports it.”

Pakistan is due to hold elections next spring. The current government, which came to power five years ago, struck an uneasy deal with the Taliban in 2009 that allowed the militia to control Swat valley, less than 100 km from the capital, Islamabad.

A few months later, the military launched an operation that pushed the militants back. The US military also intensified its use of drone strikes.

Now the Taliban control far less territory and the frequency and deadliness of their bombings has declined dramatically.

The Taliban’s key stronghold is in North Waziristan, one of the tribal areas along the Afghan border and the site of most of the hundreds of drone strikes by the United States.

Mehsud said in his interview that although he was open to dialogue, the Pakistani government was to blame for the violence because it broke previous, unspecified deals.

“In the past, it is the Pakistani government that broke peace agreements,” he said. “A slave of the US can’t make independent agreements; it breaks agreements according to US dictat.”

Mehsud said that the Pakistan Taliban would follow the lead of the Afghan Taliban when it came to forming policy after most Nato troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.

“We are Afghan Taliban and Afghan Taliban are us,” he said. “We are with them and al Qaeda. We are even willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda.”

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Kanwal
    Dec 28, 2012 - 5:29PM

    if pakistan is to survive, these thugs not only must be disarmed, the whole so-called lawless area must be brought under the rule of the land. this farce can not go on forever. they want to benefits of living in pakistan and they dont want to contribute. enough of this thuggery.
    And whoever amongst them has been or is a criminal, must be brought to justice. this is the only way to save the rest of the country.

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  • What
    Dec 28, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Pak Gov rejected this peace offer unless it came directly from Hakimullah Mehsud himself, well now that Hakimullah has said he is willing to negotiate I wonder what will be our governments response.

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  • Seriously
    Dec 28, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Well if they are the “so called” representatives of true islam which they are not!, then they must know that Islam supports democratic system. If pakistan is to survive, theses animals must be brought to justice, but not the justice that our courts provide. They deserve to die. Our security forces sacrifice their lives during operations to clear areas of these men, apprehend them and our courts just let them go based on “insufficient evidence

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  • NAkhtar
    Dec 28, 2012 - 5:59PM

    He should go to Soudi Arab, spend his rest of life seeking forgiveness from Allah, Sharia, application is not his job.He is denying the true philosophy of Sharia, peace is also required by Sahria, human life’s is also respected in Sharia, killing of innocent people is also prohibited in Sharia, which Sharia this man is tallking.
    He is simply ruthless man, he must be dealt with iron hand.But government has no time to teach them rather seems to seek their support bringing peace in PAKISTAN, the govenment is playing with whom,where are the agencies? forces, they are living in Pakistan and canot be caught? So strange and a slap on the government.

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  • Helix
    Dec 28, 2012 - 6:16PM

    The so-called “lawless” areas were self-governed even during the time of Alexander The Great, when he invaded the subcontinent. Pakistan was born yesterday and these tribesman cannot be expected to forego their legacy that has spanned over 2500 years. If Pakistan tries to wrest control of these areas, they are in for a BIG surprise.

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  • Haris Farooq Wattoo
    Dec 28, 2012 - 6:23PM

    Do not get away with his beard. He is a thug, criminal and a savage person.
    Why cant Pakistani government nuke this man and his accomplices with chemical or biological weapons. Please do this to save this country and humanity.

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  • Syed
    Dec 28, 2012 - 6:37PM

    Just go after these guys with full force otherwise just keep letting them cause terrorism in the country. They know nothing will happen to them even if they are caught. We don’t implement death penalty and they probably will get out.

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  • doom
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Negotiations entirely are a joke. We are asking terrorists (terrorists!) to please lay down their arms. While all that we have to do is JUST re-write our laws and our constitution.

    And while this drama happens – they keep on killing us while we idiotically do nothing. Except of course weave conspiracy theories to justify doing nothing.

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  • Zafar Wazir
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:08PM

    An illiterate paid killer wants to teach his alternative to Islam in the name of Islam. His brand of religion has nothing in common with what was revealed and taught by the most revered of the messengers, Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa, (SAW).
    It’s a big no to him, his cult and his negotiations. Pakistan should seek him alive or dead from the Masud Tribe under the FCR or else they should lose all the rights given under the act.

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  • Syed
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:21PM

    There is no negotiating with terrorists. These guys can’t be trusted. They might kill the person they negotiate with so better watch out. They should also stop talking about Islam. Their every action goes against the teaching of Islam. Stop giving Islam a bad name everywhere.Recommend

  • Najaf
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:22PM

    This man is evil.

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  • Moosa Khan
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:27PM

    This guy is a devil of devils.

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  • Ali
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:28PM

    Is there any hope when our Ulema-e-Islam are so cowards to declare this man, an evil and wajib-ul-qatl for harming so many lives. Our Armed forces don’t provide security to the citizens of Pakistan from this neferious movement. Our politicians confuse the nation and opposes the cleansing operation. Our media serves the criminals agenda by giving them air time to terrorize us. Our judiciary bail and compensate these criminals.

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  • abc
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:30PM

    You will disarm, and you will die. That is the only fate you and your monstrous henchmen deserve.

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  • Enlightened
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Taliban has thrown an open challenge to the state and put conditions which cannot be accepted under any circumstances . They have already killed thousands of innocent people in the name of Islam and now threatening to kill leaders of political parties in order to disrupt the next elections. It will be a totally futile exercise to either hold talks with them or make efforts to change its leadership which has failed so far and unlikely to yield any positive results in the future as well. Pakistan needs follow the Sri lankan military pattern in which it eliminated LTTE ruthlessly and Taliban require same type of treatment and even worst. If Pakistan has to survive it must act now or go back to stone-age…

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  • Ray
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:52PM

    There is an old saying: “If you kill one person, you will be prosecuted. If you kill ten, you would be called mad, but if you kill a thousand people, you would be invited for negotiations.”Recommend

  • Jawad U Rahman
    Dec 28, 2012 - 7:59PM

    @doom: Very well said !

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  • shahid
    Dec 28, 2012 - 8:10PM

    No negociations. Eliminate them completly. They are not humans, they are devil.

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  • umar
    Dec 28, 2012 - 8:16PM

    I think talking to these sub-humans will be the biggest joke of all…Smoke em out…how can you even think of negotiating with the barbarians who have killed many thousands. Elimination is necessary because even if there is ceasefire their ideology will spread further which will further complicate the situation. We have such a large army which takes a huge chunk out of the budget. This is exactly the time to use our full might. Otherwise whats the use of keeping the army,

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  • Jibran
    Dec 28, 2012 - 8:30PM

    If these criminals are not brought to justice, and not hanged for their crimes, it would keep on encouraging other like minded fanatics and lunatics to do the same. There is should be no mercy for these barbarians. Same applied to the courts, that they should not make the criminals of Lal Masjid as heroes.

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  • Dilbar Jahan
    Dec 28, 2012 - 8:32PM

    “We are Afghan Taliban and Afghan Taliban are us,” he said. “We are with them and al Qaeda. We are even willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda.” This means that now Pakistan should stop “good Taliban” and “Bad Taliban” bakwas!

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    Dec 28, 2012 - 9:15PM

    And Imran Khan still supports them!

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  • Syed Shah
    Dec 28, 2012 - 9:16PM

    Will Pakistan ever negotiate with any extra-constitutional authourity?

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  • Mr. Honest
    Dec 28, 2012 - 9:58PM

    The only solution to Taliban is NEGOTIATIONS. We have tried MILITARILY for 10 years now and we know where we stand? Even NATO and USA with their economic and military might are now negotiating with Taliban (Recently meeting was held in Paris I read in news).

    We must atleast try… TALK. NEGOTIATE. Take and maybe give some. Or this war will continue and those who think the solution is in war and it can be won live in a fools paradise. I hope in sha Allah one day this bloodshed stops in Pakistan.

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  • shakeel
    Dec 28, 2012 - 10:01PM

    There’s something not quite right about a demand for Islamic law from a band of un Islamic militants.

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  • Jo No Make Sense
    Dec 28, 2012 - 10:37PM

    No one wants you to lay down your arms, quite the opposite, we want you and your gang face a trial judge; get a fair trial; and get the appropriate verdict of multiple life-times in prison.

    We also want you to donate all your money from Arab Sheikhs and Mulla baradari in Pakistan to build girl schools, roads, telecommunication ports, sports facilities and new trading projects in Waziristan. We want you to go to a formal schooling program while in prison and write at least once a month about Islamic History, Islamic Jurisprudence, Taxing and Banking systems in Sharia, Islamic Scholars and Scientists or Peace time projects run by Islamic States.

    We want you to get on TV every month from prison and tell us why you killed so many people, and what are you doing to repay that crime while in prison.

    But before all of that, we want you to acknowledge that you are a criminal and that we are only negotiating with you because an all out attack on your hide-outs will cause many innocent people to suffer harm (also because our armed forces and police forces don’t have what it takes to capture you.)

    See you in Court Brother

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  • jibran
    Dec 28, 2012 - 10:57PM

    @Mr. Honest:
    Negotiate with killers? To turn themselves in? To be tried to be hanged? Would they agree? Or are you suggesting that they be allowed to walk free despite having the blood of tens of thousands on their hands, Mr. Honest?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 28, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Every time they are pushed into a corner they decide to call for negociations and wonder of wonders we comply………………..makes you think does it not ?

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 28, 2012 - 11:40PM

    Why us the word.’negotiate’ whe the guy means a dialogue! The waziri talibans never negotiate but alwaysmake demands in a dialogue. The enemy must meet them or face the consequence.

    It is more realistic to disarm the American civilians than to ask a Pashtun to disarm! Day dreaming does not cost anything.

    Rex Minor

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  • from France
    Dec 29, 2012 - 2:31AM

    They should stop displaying glamourous pictures of ” Hakimullah ” Mehsud

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  • Dec 29, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Evacuate old, women & children and gas their hideouts. These ruthless butchers, who kill our old, women, children and innocent people don’t deserve any better.

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  • gujranwala789
    Dec 29, 2012 - 2:58AM

    These guys are cruel heartless savages, it is one thing to kill your opponent but to kill your enemy by cutting his throat with full fledged cruelty and later on mutilate the body of the victim is just extreme form of savagery and these guys proudly commit such murders in the name of islam. I am worried about 22 FCR soldiers (who are all tribal pashtuns themselves) that have been recently kidnaped by these savage animals , no one knows if they are in line for their next slaughter savagery.

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:04AM

    @Parvez:
    Did you say push? How many good people die who showed civil courage and then got knocked out. Two weapons they now have, namely the declaration of Jehad against muslims and the 16 years old suicide commandos. They are the most destructive resistance force ever experienced in the world. They have made the super power of our times on the run, and for how long you reckon that Pakistan military can move about without their uniforms outside the military cantonments?

    Rex Minor

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  • dirtydozen
    Dec 29, 2012 - 10:17AM

    If these Talibans find out that their Shalwar Kameez they are wearing was sewed by “Singer” sewing machine – from a Jewish inventor; would they still wear it?

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  • ajeeth
    Dec 29, 2012 - 10:43PM

    We indians are fully with you in eliminating this menace. this is threat not only to pakistan but also to the world as wells as humanity.

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  • Jawad U Rehman
    Jan 1, 2013 - 9:14PM

    AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. ASHFAQ PERVEZ KAYANI….

    Dear Mr. Kayani ! Please eliminate this enemy of the state before the state ceases to exist. Taliban have now killed 10 times more Pakistanis than those killed in the 1965 war with India. Taliban have attacked our army headquarters, naval and air force bases, they have attacked and bombed our secret agencies, elite forces, FIA, police, paramilitary forces, levies, and rangers. They have kidnapped and beheaded hundreds of Pakistani forces. Taliban have attacked our schools, hospitals, funerals, graveyards, playgrounds, markets, cinemas, mosques, shrines, places of worship for our minorities, and every organ of our state. They have targeted and attacked our political leadership, children, health workers, army generals, moderate ulema, artists, and anybody disagreeing with them. They are slowly eating away the last vestiges of the state control, before the country descends into chaos.
    Armies in the world have gone to war for the blood of a single soldier or citizen. We all are waiting for the Pakistan army’s leadership to show up and say enough is enough, we will not rest until the COMPLETE elimination of the Taliban from our territory. No agreements, compromises, or peace deals after what we have been through.
    Can you deliver? if not please step aside and let a real leader come forward and help save Pakistan.
    Thank you.

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  • Enlightened
    Jan 1, 2013 - 11:15PM

    @Jawad U Rehman:
    Full agree with all contents of your appeal which are not only your views but majority of Pakistanis who are totally fed up and wants its army to now act than remain as mute spectators to this mayhem created by enemies of the country.Recommend

  • intolerant
    Jan 6, 2013 - 6:17PM

    I wish someday I would read in the newspaper that Rehman Malik says to the TTP,

    “YOU CAN GO MAKE LOVE TO YOURSELF”…Peace…

    Recommend

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