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Pakistani Taliban says it is serious about peace talks

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed that it is serious about peace talks with the Pakistan government.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2014 16:13 IST

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed that it is serious about peace talks with the Pakistan government.

Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, speaking to journalists over phone from an undisclosed location, said the TTP leadership was in constant touch with all factions on the issue of ceasefire and a decision in this regard would be taken soon, Dawn online reported Wednesday.

The peace process faced a deadlock after the TTP Sunday killed 23 security personnel, who had been captured in 2010. The TTP claimed that it killed the security personnel as revenge for what it called "extra-judicial killing" of its detained activists.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Tuesday met the government's committee formed to hold peace talks with the Taliban, during which the committee expressed its inability to carry forward the peace talks.

The government committee said the talks could not progress without any concrete steps and also asked the TTP to unconditionally cease all violent activities without any delay.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's House, the government committee briefed Nawaz Sharif and told him that, during the 13-day talks, several people were killed in terrorist attacks.

The committee said the talks were progressing satisfactorily until the Taliban claimed responsibility for a blast in Karachi Feb 13. The blast targeted a police bus near Razzaqabad.

The committee has sought an explanation from the TTP but before that could be given, the Taliban killed security personnel whom they had held hostage.

The government committee members have unanimously decided that holding the scheduled talks with the Taliban committee was a meaningless effort.

According to Wednesday's Dawn report, Shahid said that all Taliban factions unanimously backed the dialogue process.

The TTP spokesman termed what it called a sudden increase in "custodial killings and the dumping of bodies" of militants an act of provocation, adding that such incidents must be stopped for the success of the peace process.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Taliban-appointed committee for the peace talks and provincial chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (S), Maulana Yousaf Shah, has said that the Taliban wanted to end the deadlock in talks.

The government committee should demonstrate flexibility and resume talks, he told Dawn over phone Tuesday. He also expressed regret at the government committee's decision to suspend the talks.

First Published: Feb 19, 2014 16:06 IST