A hardline cleric sought on Thursday to persuade the Taliban to disarm under a pact with Pakistan’s government that has been criticised as giving in to Islamist militants ravaging the country’s northwest, a militant spokesman said.
Sufi Muhammad promised to use his influence to push the Taliban in the former tourist resort of Swat to stop fighting in exchange for a public vow by the government to impose Islamic law in the region.
The Taliban announced a 10-day ceasefire on Sunday to support the initiative; the military responded by saying it would observe a truce.
Muhammad met with the Swat Valley Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah in an undisclosed location in the valley, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said.
“They are discussing how to ensure peace and how to ensure the provision of speedy justice” to the people, Khan said.
Contacted late in the day, Khan said talks were still going on but had yet to bring any results. He did not say how long they would go on for.
Taliban flay killing of journalists
The Taliban spokesman also condemned the killing of Pakistani TV reporter, Musa Khan Khel, saying that whoever did it wanted to “derail the peace process.”
Authorities have not named any suspects in the killing of Musa, 28, and neither has his employer, Geo TV. 32 bullets were receovered from his body.