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‘No peace talks till Taliban cool down’

Updated November 13, 2013

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“Taliban are angry at the moment, therefore, talks are not possible until they calm down,” said Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain on Wednesday. – Photo courtesy na.gov.pk
“Taliban are angry at the moment, therefore, talks are not possible until they calm down,” said Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain on Wednesday. – Photo courtesy na.gov.pk

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Wednesday said the government will wait for an appropriate time to restart peace talks with Pakistani Taliban which he said could take a few months.

“Taliban are angry at the moment…….therefore, talks are not possible until they calm down,” he said while speaking to BBC in an exclusive interview.

Tanvir said in this regard he hopes for an attempt to be made in a couple of month’s time. “Military action would be used as a last resort as we want to give peace a chance,” he said. “Despite Taliban’s rejection, we will continue pursuing the path of negotiations.”

The statement came after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday told the National Assembly that the government virtually shelved, for now, its plan to revive a disrupted peace effort with Taliban insurgents.

Replying to a question whether new Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah was the type of person who can be talked to, Rana Tanvir said: “Yes, he is a man with a reputation of having strong opinions….but, lets hope peace talks with him are productive this time around.”

He said extremist groups support talks with the government, adding that they wanted to be inducted in the national mainstream.

Speaking on military leadership’s views regarding dialogue with the Tehrik-i-Taliban, the minister said the government and armed forces both have same views on the matter. “Both (government and Pakistan Army) are on same page and there is no rift among them,” he said.

The defence production minister said the United States was also supportive of the TTP talks just the way they supported the Doha talks with Afghan Taliban.

However, he also backed the government’s stance that the US could have waited in putting down Hakimullah Mehsud through a drone strike. He said Pakistan was yet to receive an official reaction of the US government regarding the country’s protest on the matter.