Jan 29, 2014, 5:30 PM
News Code: 2626804
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Pakistani Taliban hails PM’s peace dialogue offer

Islamabad, Jan 29, IRNA – Pakistani Taliban Wednesday welcomed peace dialogue offer by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hinted at a ceasefire if the “government makes some progress.”

The Taliban statement came shortly after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered peace talks to the Taliban insurgents and formed a four-member committee to approach the militants.

The Prime Minister also warned in his speech in the parliament the use of force if the Taliban continued attacks.

“We welcome the talks offer. The Prime Minister’s offer indicates his seriousness,” a senior Pakistani Taliban commander Asmatullah Muaweya said.

“If the government offers ceasefire we will also give a positive response,” Muaweya, who leads the Taliban fighters from Punjab province said. He operates from North Waziristan tribal region.

Another senior Taliban commander, Hamza, also hailed the dialogue offer but called for more progress.

Hamza, special adviser to the Taliban chief, Maulvi Fazalullah, said Taliban’s council will also announce a committee for dialogue if the government makes some progress. He told the media that the government has, for the first time, taken a serious step to form a committee for dialogue.

“We want the dialogue committee should be given complete powers,” the Taliban commander said. He said the Taliban council will decide ceasefire.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier told the National Assembly that the government has adopted the path of talks with the Taliban to give peace another chance in the lager interest of the country.

The Prime Minister hoped the Taliban will initiate the process with good intention for the success of the dialogue process.

“Dialogue and terrorism cannot go together; therefore‚ the incidents of terrorism should come to an end,” he said.

The opposition parties welcomed the Prime Minister’s offer and announced their support.

Speaking on the occasion‚ Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said the entire opposition stands by the government for security and stability of the country and it will not do any politics on sensitive issues.

Another opposition leader and Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Imran Khan while supporting the government’s initiative for dialogue process suggested these should be held openly. He said that the politicians should stop giving conflicting statements on the issue because there is a dire need to unite the nation.

Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman said his party has to take forward the national consensus developed by the All Parties Conference. He appreciated the Prime Minister for according priority to the peace and dialogue process and giving a future roadmap for negotiations.

Meanwhile‚ member of the Peace Committee constituted by the government‚ Rustam Shah Mohmand has said that he is ready to use his good offices to promote the cause of peace.

He was talking to the media after announcement of the names of the Committee by the Prime Minister in the National Assembly. He said the issue of insurgency and militancy is a threat not only to the tribal regions but to other areas of the country as well.