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Pak Taliban welcomes peace talk offer by Sharif's govt

September 10, 2013 15:49 IST

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has welcomed as a "good omen" the decision of the country's political parties to hold talks with it and other militant groups.

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid cautiously welcomed the APC resolution and said Taliban would be willing to enter into "meaningful dialogue" after the government announced its policy on how to proceed.

"We welcome the unanimous resolution passed by the APC and will be positive in our response. We consider it is a good omen," he was quoted as saying in the local media.

The All Party Conference, called by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had on Monday strongly backed the government's plans to hold talks with all stakeholders to tackle the menace of terrorism that is plaguing the country.

"We repose full confidence in the efforts of the prime minister on this behalf and call upon the federal government to initiate the dialogue with all stakeholders forthwith and for this purpose, authorise it to take all necessary steps as it may deem fit, including development of an appropriate mechanism and identification of interlocutors," a resolution passed by the APC said.

TTP Political Commission member Ehsanullah Ehsan said, "The unanimous stance of all the stakeholders in the APC statement is a positive sign but the government will have to take more sincere steps."

"The government will also have to convince the army and decide a road-map for the talks," he was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

The Sharif government had clarified its intentions to hold talks with the Taliban and it received full support from other Pakistani political parties.

Monday's meeting was chaired by Sharif and attended by members of all political parties.

The leaders were given a briefing by the powerful Army Chief General Ashfaz Parvez Kayani, who apprised them about the overall security situation in the country.

Inter Services Intelligence Chief Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam had also briefed the political leadership.

Image: A policeman comforts a man weeping over the death of his son, who was killed in a bomb blast triggered by Taliban, before his funeral in Quetta ' Photograph: Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

Snehesh Alex Philip
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