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Pakistan and Taliban; search for a peaceful solution

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The government of Pakistan has initiated talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. A team representing the government and the Taliban has met in Islamabad.

Following the meeting which lasted almost four hours, one of the representatives, Maulana Samiul Haq read out a joint statement to the media.

According to the press release, the two sides met in a cordial environment.
The government committee demanded that talks be held within the framework of the constitution, and that the scope of the peace talks be limited to only the insurgency-affected areas of Pakistan.

The government committee also said that all activities which may affect peace efforts should immediately be stopped, and that talks should be smoothly concluded in a short timeframe.
Referring to the 10-member Taliban monitoring committee, the government negotiators sought clarification regarding scope and authority of both TTP teams.

On the other hand, the Pakistani Taliban committee urged the government to clarify the mandate and level of authority of its four member committee, and its ability to implement a peace pact.
In a latest development, the Taliban have refused to hold talks under the present constitution of Pakistan. The first round of talks ended with both sides charting a roadmap for future negotiations, with the government team proposing that the peace talk be pursued within the framework of the constitution of Pakistan.

However one of the TTP representatives, Maulana Abdul Aziz urged the government on Friday to remove the condition of holding talks under the constitution.
“The Taliban say they do not recognize the prevailing constitution,” Aziz told a press conference in Islamabad. “The people should not be misled into believing that our constitution is Islamic.”

In view of the ongoing peace talks following can be inferred:

The peace negotiations have to take part within the constitutional framework of Pakistan.

The talks should be aimed at creating understanding between the two sides. The focus should be cessation of hostilities from both sides, not the form of the constitution.

It is the right of the people to choose the system of government. The people of Pakistan have voted for a democratic system in accordance with the constitution for the next five years. To expect a change in the democratic order at this stage is unthinkable.

The wave of terrorism unleashed by Taliban and their surrogates in Pakistan has cost the lives of more than 80,000 people, including members of the security forces, innocent children, women and the elderly. People who have have been maimed and permanently disabled by the terrorist acts are unaccounted for.

The savage massacre of the innocent people in the market places, churches and mosques have continued unabatedly. There is no remorse, no regret or shame on behalf of the Taliban.

The utter brutality and merciless bloodshed by the perpetrators of these heinous crimes leaves no room for any concession. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be praised for giving peace another chance. The Taliban representatives should remember that in a country of 180 million people, no religious or extremist party has ever won support of the electorate in the 68 year history of Pakistan.

The new demands being placed on the table by TTP do not hold any ground. The government, military and the people of Pakistan favor a unified military action against the Taliban. Countries like Sri Lanka have also waged a long battle against the terrorists and finally won. It is however advisable to avoid resort to military force if an amicable and peaceful solution is possible. The stance of the Taliban negotiators and their actions during the first round of peace talks is giving rise to a question whether TTP is as sincere in establishing peace as much as the people of Pakistan.

Sources:

BBC News February 6, 2014

Dawn News February 6 & 7, 2014

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