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After sack, Pak Taliban deputy leader still favors talks with Pak Govt.

March 7, 2012 - Islamabad

The sacked deputy leader of the Pakistan Taliban, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, has reportedly said he still favors peace talks with the Pakistan Government.

Faqir, who commands militants of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the tribal agency of Bajaur near the Afghan border, has reportedly been in talks with the government in Islamabad over a peace deal, The Dawn reports.

The TTP, allied with the Afghan Taliban movement fighting US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, is entrenched in the unruly areas along the porous frontier. It has pledged to overthrow the Pakistani government after the military started operations against the TTP.

Past peace pacts with the TTP have failed to bring stability, and merely gave the umbrella group time and space to consolidate, launch fresh attacks and impose their views of Islam on segments of the population.

The TTP leadership is split over new talks with the Pakistani government, with some hardliners rejecting them. Mohammad, however, said that he has never disobeyed the council.

"Whenever I've held talks with the government of Pakistan, I've held them with the permission and advice of the central leadership of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan," Mohammad said from an undisclosed location.

"When the Taliban in Afghanistan can talk to America, then why can't we talk to the government of Pakistan?"

Last month, Pakistan had urged leaders of the Afghan Taliban movement to enter direct peace negotiations with Kabul, a possible sign that Islamabad is stepping up support for reconciliation in neighbouring Afghanistan.


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