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Pakistani Taliban suspend peace talks with government

Published Mar 18, 2013 02:30pm

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan pictured in a screenshot from the nine-minute video, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban have suspended peace talks with the Pakistani government, claiming the stakeholders are "not serious” with the peace initiative, a spokesman for the banned outfit said in a video released Monday.

“This non-serious response to our offer of peace talks has proved who is pushing the country into an inferno of bloodshed,” said Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan in the nine-minute video.

“Keeping in view this situation, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has decided to temporarily suspend the offer of peace talks.”

Earlier last month the proscribed militant group, which has waged war against the state since 2007, had announced it’s willingness for conditional peace talks with the country’s top three politicians as guarantors for the dialogue.

In the video, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Ehsanullah warned citizens to avoid participation in the “un-Islamic democratic system which only serves the interests of infidels and enemies of Islam.”

Ehsanullah said that the TTP specifically advised the public to stay away from gatherings of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Information Minister Mian Ifitkhar Hussain, reacting to the interview, said: “The peace process has not even started so what to say about suspending it. It doesn’t make sense.”

“If the government would have suspended the talks, it would have made sense, but as far as terrorists’ point of view and their claim of suspending the peace talks offer is concerned, they are already resorting to terrorist attacks and not sparing any moment of sabotage,” he added.

“Today you saw they targeted the court of a female judge inside judicial complex,” said Hussain, speaking about a suicide attack Monday inside the premises of a court in Peshawar.

The suicide attack left at least three people dead and several others wounded.

“We have to wait and see when the environment is ripe for peace talks again and then we can restore peace through dialogue,” said Hussain.