ISLAMABAD: Backchannel talks between the ruling PML-N and Taliban are under way to work out a peace formula and end violence which has claimed thousands of lives in the country since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in Oct 2001.

“Unofficial talks between the government side and Taliban are in progress,” Information Minister Pervez Rashid told Dawn on Friday. He said the government was exploring all options to restore lasting peace in the country and was in contact with Taliban at different levels.

He endorsed a statement made by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that a formula had been chalked out for holding formal talks with Taliban within a month. “Maulana Sahib is a responsible person and whatever he said is correct,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the JUI-F chief told reporters in Parliament House that a forum comprising authoritative and responsible people was being formed for holding talks with Taliban within a month.

The information minister did not say at what level talks had been initiated and with which group of militants. But, he said the government was ready to negotiate with any group of Taliban interested in holding talks.

“I cannot say with which group of Taliban we are holding talks because today we are talking with two groups and if another group wants to join we will welcome it too,” he said.

Mr Rashid said the government’s main objective was to restore peace and it would do everything possible to achieve that. “We have to rid the country of the menace of terrorism for which all options would be utilised.”

Asked if the government had taken opposition into confidence before going for negotiations with Taliban, he said the opposition was always consulted during formal and informal meetings and, particularly, in the Parliament House.

But, he said, there would be no opposition leader in the forum being formed for the talks which would be between the government and Taliban. “Therefore there is no need to include any leader of the opposition in the process.”

Earlier, the government had announced that it would hold an all-party conference to seek proposals for a formula under which talks could be initiated with Taliban. But the conference has not taken place for one reason or the other.

It may be mentioned that leaders of major opposition parties including the PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Awami National Party and the PML-Q have supported the decision to hold talks with militants.

When contacted, JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai said the government had established some contacts with Taliban. “Certain steps have been taken behind the curtain.”

He said the government had formulated a strategy which would be followed by the forum for the talks. “The strategy is being discussed by the government with allied parties,” he added.

Intelligence agencies, he said, would be taken into confidence during the peace process.

****Taliban confirm****

Meanwhile, a senior Taliban leader confirmed that initial contacts between the militants and the government had been made. He told the BBC Urdu Service that the talks encompassing a wide range of issues including prevention of sectarian violence and snapping of ties with Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had been held.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (13)

khan
August 31, 2013 6:23 am

why cant the government make SWAT teams like the developed countries have and are yu serious that our more than 600,000 army cant clear out fata areas??? how about this ban all automatic weapons, stop these local gun making factoriesetc....

Abbas
August 31, 2013 6:26 am

Thousands of innocent people have lost their lives- if these peace talks can achieve the purpose for which they are intended and not for the government to get a pat on the back , it will not bring the departed back , but some solace for their families , that there is peace at last.Make no mistake, these terrorists have blood on their hands and nawaz should not help them wipe these innocent peoples blood - they should be subjected to the normal process of law,Nawaz has shown "progress" and khan should learn from an experienced politician - leave his immaturity on tsunami and vigilante actions and do something constructive.

Raja
August 31, 2013 7:53 am

Excellent. Now we all Pakistanis must support our government. PEACE!!!

dr vimal raina
August 31, 2013 8:31 am

it ain't a secret no more.

Anees
August 31, 2013 9:06 am

Where are all those who criticize Imran Khan for talking about dialogue with Taliban?

Danial
August 31, 2013 9:54 am

"Believe nothing until it has been officially denied". But here is a different case of comedy in which our govt official once again provided daily dose by acknowledging the secrets talks.

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune
August 31, 2013 10:18 am

Nothing New, BBC already made documentary on this issue "Secret Pakistan"

Kakar
August 31, 2013 10:37 am

A clever ploy indeed. Talking about talk to establish that taliban are not interested in talks.

Zia
August 31, 2013 11:47 am

Yes they will talk with Taliban: -Who helped them win elections -Do they give approval to the killers of innocent citizens -They give approval to the killers of Pakistan army -They give approval to the killers of Pakistan economy Will Pakistani nation approve such a Govt. which is bargaining on their blood??? this is shameless effort

Hussain Akbari
August 31, 2013 2:25 pm

Any deal with the terrorista like Taliban can never work. OE one has to bargain on the very concept of Pakistan and be ready to damage the face of the country.Learn from the steps taken by Ali against the Kharjis.

irum afshan qureshi
August 31, 2013 3:56 pm

pakistan tehreek e insaaf's stance to hold meeting with prime minister nawaz shareef and the top military brass prior to any apc meeting so that any secret developments that were taking place should be known was right on target.

jami
August 31, 2013 6:32 pm

J Islami is the best tool to deal with Taliban as before. JI is the founder and authorized operator of Taliban under American control. However the manpower or fighter force of TTP is in the hands of Moulana Fazal and Moulana Sami ul Haq. But these two are not in line with GREAT power except JI who can negotiate with TTP. Rest of the political groups are inefficient like PML-N, TIP. So the best way is to select JI and Fazal for negotiations as as they are waiting for their bounties in response. JI has good experience of all these types of deal, like in 1971 for Al-Shams-Al Badr with American coalition and President Yahya Khan umbrella. This group killed 2 Million Bengali and make homeless one Million others in East Pakistan. then in 1980's they were ministers with President Zia ul haq.

Jami
September 1, 2013 12:26 am

J Islami is the best tool to deal with Taliban as before. JI is the founder and authorized operator of Taliban under American control. However the manpower or fighter force of TTP is in the hands of Moulana Fazal and Moulana Sami ul Haq. But these two are not in line with GREAT power except JI who can negotiate with TTP. Rests of the political groups are inefficient like PML-N, TIP. So the best way is to select JI and Fazal for negotiations as they are waiting for their bounties in response. JI has good experience of all these types of deal, like in 1971 for Al-Shams-Al Badr with American coalition and President Yahya Khan Umbrella. This group killed 2 Million Bengali and makes homeless one Million others in East Pakistan. Then in 1980's they were ministers with President Zia ul haq.

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