Jan 16, 2014, 10:29 AM
News Code: 80997847
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Pakistani PM urges politicians to encourage Taliban for talks

Islamabad, Jan 16, IRNA -- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought political and religious leaders help for talks with the Taliban militants.

Taliban refused to talk to the government after the killing of their chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in November 2013.

Mehsud's death derailed the possible talks with the government and the country's interior minister has publicly accused the US of sabotaging the peace process.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had previously supported talks with the Taliban, is now seeking help from those religious and political leaders who have some influence over the Taliban.

The prime minister pressed some religious leaders to play their role to encourage the Taliban to come to the negotiation table.

He told Geo television that top religious leaders Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, Munawar Hasan and political leader Imran Khan should approach the Taliban even if they are unwilling to talk to the government.

The prime minister also sought the help of the leaders who favor peace dialogue with the government.

Nawaz Sharif earlier visited a center in the northwestern Swat valley where the former Taliban members are being imparted education and technical training.

Addressing a gathering at the center, the prime minister said his government wants atmosphere of peace, harmony and goodwill prevail all over the country.

"The Government of Pakistan is striving to make Pakistan free from the extremism and all the people are given equal opportunities to progress and development."

"They (militants) should be made healthy members of the society through constructive engagement. They are not enemies of Pakistan but have lost their direction," Nawaz Sharif noted.