Gilani denies secret talks with Pakistan Taliban

Last Updated: Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 23:28

Islamabad: Pakistan`s top leadership on Sunday
denied that secret talks were being held with the local
Taliban, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani saying that
any parleys will be held in the open only after the militants
renounce violence.

"Our policy is that if someone doesn`t resort to violence
against us, if they denounce violence and surrender to the
political agent (in the tribal areas) and say that they won`t
do such things, then they come to the mainstream," he said.

"But as such, we are not talking with any militants,"
Gilani said during an interview with BBC Urdu. He was
responding to questions about senior Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad`s claims that the militants
were in talks with the government.

Asked if the government had secretly engaged the
militants, Gilani said, "Nothing will be done behind the
curtains, whatever we do will be in the open."

Gilani said his government had a `3D policy` for tackling
militancy that comprised dialogue, development and deterrence.

This policy was the basis for talks held with Maulana
Fazlullah, the former commander of the Taliban in the Swat
Valley, and an agreement between the two sides.

"When that agreement was violated, we were left with no
choice but to carry out a military action," Gilani said,
referring to an operation launched in Swat in 2009 to flush
out the Taliban.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik too denied that the
government was talking to the Taliban and said there had been
no change in the government`s stance that dialogue could be
held only if the militants laid down their weapons and
surrendered to authorities.

"I`m addressing Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and saying, `Tell
the truth. If you really want to and if you feel for Pakistan,
come out in the open, lay down your weapons and meet the
political agent (in the tribal areas)," Malik told reporters
in Islamabad.

"Seek forgiveness from Allah for your sins. The people
may forgive you but in these circumstances don`t resort to
disinformation. Categorically, I am telling on behalf of the
government, no dialogue (has been held with the Taliban)," he
said.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the fugitive deputy commander of
the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, had said yesterday that
he is holding peace talks with the government and that an
agreement could be signed by the two sides "very soon".

Mohammad said the government had released 145 militants
as a goodwill gesture and halted military operation in Bajaur
Agency, one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal districts
along the border with Afghanistan. In return, the militants
had pledged a ceasefire, he said.

PTI




comments powered by Disqus