Pakistani Taliban announce month-long ceasefire

Published March 1, 2014
Photo shows Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid (center).—File Photo
Photo shows Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid (center).—File Photo

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militant organisation on Saturday announced a month-long ceasefire, a development likely to break a deadlock in peace talks with the Pakistani government.

According to TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, the umbrella organisation has directed all groups to honour the ceasefire.

“The government gave a positive reply to the recommendations we gave our negotiations committee for ending the deadlock in peace talks, and we have been given satisfactory assurance that the recommendations will be implemented,” the TTP spokesman said.

He said that the TTP top leadership has directed all groups to fully honour the ceasefire with the government, and to “refrain from all Jihadi activities during this period”.

Sources told Dawn.com that the the TTP leadership took the decision after consultation with members of the Taliban nominated committee for peace talks.

The TTP, an umbrella group of several militant factions, has waged a bloody seven-year war against the Pakistani state, leaving thousands dead in the violence.

Peace talks between the government and Taliban struck an impasse last month after the Taliban-linked militants murdered 23 kidnapped Pakistani soldiers.

The killings resulted in multiple targeted airstrikes by the military against suspected hideouts in the tribal northwest.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the government committee for peace talks, Irfan Siddiqui, welcomed the announcement by the militant group. He however said that they were waiting to receive a formal message from the Taliban talks committee.

Siddiqui said that if the Taliban are serious in peace talks and the announcement of the ceasefire, then the development would bring the suspended negotiation process back on the track.

He said that, after the Taliban mediators formally inform them, the government committee would soon hold a meeting to decide on their next step.

With reporting by Zahir Shah Sherazi from Peshawar and Mateen Haider in Islamabad.

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