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Baitullah ready for talks with new govt

February 25, 2008

TANK, Feb 24: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud has announced that he is ready for talks with the new government if it stops President Musharraf’s “war on terror” in tribal areas.

Baitullah’s spokesman Maulvi Umar told journalists on phone from some place on Sunday that the people of Pakistan had rejected President Musharraf’s pro-America policies.

“Taliban do not want hostile relations with the new government and are ready for talks with political parties for a lasting peace in the NWFP and the tribal region,” he added.

Baitullah’s men had earlier this month declared a ceasefire in South Waziristan where elections were postponed because of clashes.

Maulvi Umar expressed the hope that the new government would not follow the “flawed policies” of President Musharraf and would respect the people’s mandate.

He said that militants would fully cooperate in efforts for restoration of peace in the area.

“We are ready for negotiations with the new government if it doesn’t re-impose a war on us. If it (new government) continues with the policies of President Musharraf we will resume our activities,” he warned.

He welcomed the victory of opposition parties in the elections and said they had won because of sacrifices rendered by the local Taliban.

ROCKETS FIRED: Five rockets were fired on the Spinkai Raghzai fort in South Waziristan on Saturday night, officials said.

The attack did not cause any damage and no group has claimed responsibility. Security forces retaliated by firing artillery and mortar shells from their base in Jandola.