ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday urged the Taliban to announce a 30-day ceasefire as a precursor to peace talks which the militants had offered earlier this month, adding the nation had rejected their campaign of terror.
The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction has stepped up attacks in recent months, leading to fears that violence could mar general elections scheduled to take place by mid-May.
In a video message handed out to journalists on February 3, TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan proposed talks with Islamabad provided that certain opposition politicians, including main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, act as guarantors.
Sharif welcomed the peace talks offer but refused to be a guarantor.
"First there should be ceasefire and peace talks can be held only after it," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday.
"The nation has rejected the system of Taliban, this is voice of majority, come forward, announce a one-month ceasefire and then hold negotiations," Malik said.
In December, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million US bounty on his head, said he was open to peace talks but refused to disarm.
Critics have accused the authorities of appeasement in trying to broker peace with the TTP in the past, charging that such deals give the militants time to regroup before launching further attacks.
Elections on time would mark the first time a democratically elected government would have seen out a full term in the country's history. Local media has recently tipped Sharif the most likely victor in the polls.
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Mirza Indian are not aloud to sugest any thing for pakistan coz we know you are an Endian troll.
Zaid hamid must be really happy....
@Hafeez: "Ceasefire? Are you nuts? Ask them to surrender and no talks."
Surrender to whom? They are in NWA and Pakistani military is unwilling to go there.
pathetic....the way the Goverment is begging terrorists to declare a cease fire - that too for just one month ( for fear of offending the terrorists)!!
you sponsot Taliban in Afghanistan and they open a branch in Pakistan to become a millstone around your own neck!
@Iftikhar Khan: You were quick coming to the conclusion that the 'Talibans' is the enimy. Did you think that the battles of pak military with them were some sort of a shooting practice? Pakistan miltary has a choice to appease or keeo on fighting them for ever like the Burmese, the Thais or the Philipinos fighting the so called separist groups.
@sensible: Idea! bring all taliban to peace table, trap em and bomb them all.
Don't forget there are good and bad talibans. Pakistan controls most talibans groups. Pakistan told taliban leaders not to hand over Bin Laden to US. For Pakistan terrorism is a big business.
I don't think Reman Malik is so smart but this particular statement makes sense. Even in India the precondition to negotation with Maoists is that they declare ceasefire. Asking any sch group to deweaponise alltgether is an obvious non-starter.
If during negotiation, they are open to discusiing solutions within Pakistan's constitution, negotiations should continue and not otherwise. Many insurgencies in India have been resolved this way by talking to the insurgent and addressing thir legitimate grievances within the constitutional framework. For groups who reject the constitutional framework, the only option is to fight. But people must realize that such fights are measured in years not days, weeks or months.
@sensible: Clever thinking! Who is going to bell the cat?
Only a month... they should have ceasefire for ever not just one month!
Ceasefire? Are you nuts? Ask them to surrender and no talks. You may tell them that they will not be killed until given a chance of hearing. That can be the most lenient stance if you really want to discourage militants.
Before we make any opinion on what to do with these TTP/etc people. Remember there are the ones who even had no shame in killing girls who were saving children from polio.
We cannot initiate peace talks while under increasing attacks by these terrorists. Ignore the talk of surrender to the terrorists and let them give up arms before talking. Forget what the rightwing leaders say about their TTP friends. Do not talk to them till they stop targeting our civilians and stop using arms.
Even handed justice coupled with honest governance will leave no room for these coward barbarians that TTP are.
With elections round the corner Mr. Malik sends feelers first. TTP obliges with suitable announcement. Mr.Malik accepts his own idea with a tag. He is for the dramatic !
The Talibans do not negotiate and it took the Americans over a decade to accept it; One appeases and accepts their demand or confront them to defeat them. Johnny Malik should learn to speak Pashto to understand the Taliban jibberish.
Idea! bring all taliban to peace table, trap em and bomb them all.
Just the idea that TTP says that they can have peace talk without them changing their barbaric ways PROVES that they are enemy and should be dealt with accordingly with just action and resolve. Not suggesting doing oppression (zulm) on them but only the justice they deserve must be provided with full resolve of the nation.
After ruthless and unchallenged Taliban attacks, the government has to apologetically announce its readiness to hold a dialogue, which is usually meant to give civilians a signal that the insurmountable enemy is worthy of reconciliation. If the Pakistan government is serious about defending Pakistan and developing Pakistan - it needs a much more mature and wiser counter-extremism policy.