Pakistani Taliban say chances of peace talks `below zero`
Islamabad: The Taliban have ruled out talks with the Pakistan government, saying the chances of negotiations after the killing of their leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike were "below zero".
Senior Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Ihsanullah Ihsan, in an interview to Newsweek Pakistan, claimed Mehsud`s killing last week was a violation of Pashtun culture.
"After this incident, there can be no peace talks. It would be too generous to say that the possibility of peace talks is zero; the chances are, in fact, below zero," he said.
"You can`t engage someone in peace talks and then attack his home and kill his father. Hakimullah Mehsud was our leader, our hearts are heavy and our anger will soon be felt by everyone," he said.
Ihsan described Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan`s criticism of the drone strike that killed Mehsud as "shedding crocodile tears". He claimed the "ruse of peace talks" has been used to eliminate Taliban leaders one by one.
"This is their strategy: they distract us from our security priorities through offers of talk and then eliminate our leaders. We will not allow this to persist," he said.
Asked about the Interior Minister`s indignation over the drone strike, Ihsan said Khan was expressing guilt over his government`s involvement in a "wrong act".
"But his government should have been more positive and proactive from the start. When they are so incompetent that they can`t defend their own country and they can`t defend their initiative for peace talks, do they even deserve to govern? They are (American) slaves," he alleged.
Asked if he was suggesting the Pakistan government was involved in drone attacks, Ihsan said he was "110 percent" sure the country`s security organisations were involved.
"For every drone attack, about 80 percent of the information and ground intelligence is provided by Pakistani security organisations," he said.
"Then how come Chaudhry Nisar is shedding crocodile tears? Chaudhry Nisar is responsible for the security of Pakistan. It`s his job, not the Army`s, to run the system. If the politicians are not in charge, how is it possible to talk with these helpless and incompetent creatures?" he said.
"Our policies aren`t based on personalities. Whether it`s (Army Chief Gen Ashfaq) Kayani or (former premier Yousuf Raza) Gilani or anyone, we are fighting against the system and that will continue."
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