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Rediff.com  » News » Taliban welcomes Gilani's overtures, wants direct talks with govt

Taliban welcomes Gilani's overtures, wants direct talks with govt

October 04, 2011 13:11 IST
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has welcomed the Pakistan government's offer for peace talks with all insurgent groups. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had said recently that his administration was ready to hold negotiations with all militant groups, including the Haqqani network.

"The TTP welcomes the prime minister's offer," The Express Tribune quoted Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, TTP's deputy commander and commander-in-chief in Bajaur Agency, as saying on the telephone from an undisclosed location.

Muhammad, however, set two preconditions for dialogue -- the government should reconsider its relationship with the United States, and enforce Islamic sharia in the country. "We have always had serious doubts about Pakistan-US relations. The United States has never been sincere to Pakistan or Muslims in general," he said.

Although Muhammad showed willingness for negotiations, he said that his group would not accept Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain as a negotiator. "Mian Iftikhar should not be part of any reconciliatory talks," he stated, identifying him as one of his group's biggest enemies. He also said that his group believed in direct talks, and would not accept mediation. "We want direct talks with the government and not through intermediaries," he added.

Responding to a question, Muhammad said that his fighters were not battle-fatigued. "We will continue to fight till the establishment of an Islamic state. But if our demands are met and an Islamic justice system is established in Pakistan, which is our country, we will lay down our weapons because we are peace-loving people," he added.

 

Source: ANI