May 18, 2013

PAKISTAN: Dialogue Offer: Taliban Offer Ceasefire To New Government; I Wouldn't Buy It. Taliban Are Ruthless And Conniving.

The Express Tribune
written by Tahir Khan
Thursday May 16, 2013

ISLAMABAD - The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the outlawed umbrella of militant groups blamed for most violence in the country, said late Wednesday that they do not rule out a ‘ceasefire’ if the new government ‘shows seriousness’ to their dialogue offer.

The ultraconservative group had also offered ‘conditional dialogue’ to the previous ruling coalition in February only to withdraw it after they did not receive a ‘positive’ response.

Now, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan says if the incoming government takes the Taliban talks offer seriously, his group will also come up with a positive response.

“If they [the new government] takes our dialogue offer seriously and makes some progress, then we could also stop attacks,” Ehsan told The Express Tribune by the phone from undisclosed location.

The incoming prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, said this week that the Taliban’s offer for dialogue would be taken seriously. “We have seen Nawaz Sharif’s reported remarks and respect his statement about our dialogue offer,” Ehsan said.

“I would reiterate that we are serious in our dialogue offer but the outgoing rulers had adopted a non-serious approach,” he added. “The TTP does not declare a ceasefire now and any such decision would depend on the new government’s approach.”

The TTP spokesman further said, “I cannot say now that we are stopping attacks but there could be a possibility of stopping attacks as a goodwill gesture once the new government takes some serious steps.”

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