Pakistan seeks to hold talks with Taliban: Sharif
Islamabad – Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Friday that the government wanted to resolve issues with the Taliban through talks.
A government delegation was to hold talks with the Taliban but now there was a hurdle, said Sharif, alluding to the death of Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike last week. He was killed along with his five associates when the US spy aircraft fired missile on his vehicle in North Waziristan tribal region, Geo News reported.
“We don’t want further bloodshed and killing of our brothers and sisters. This matter should have been resolved earlier but now it is incumbent upon us to address this issue,” he said while addressing traders at the Governor House.
Sharif’s statement comes a day after Pakistani Taliban appointed Mullah Fazlullah as their new chief to lead the almost 40 militant groups working under the umbrella of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Shortly after his appointment, a TTP spokesperson termed the Pakistan government as a US puppet.
After the attack, Fazalullah refused to hold talks with the government and threatened to launch revenge attacks. The Taliban threats have raised serious concerns over the possible backlash.
Appointment of Fazlullah, who freely moves in Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces along the Pakistani border, is being viewed as a setback to Islamabad’s efforts to engage the TTP, a conglomerate of militant organisations, in talks.