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New KP governor vows to make peace with Taliban

11 February, 2013

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's new governor, Eng Shaukatullah, said on Sunday that talks with Taliban would start in coming months and days and he would make them a success.

These assuring words followed the oath-taking ceremony to install the new governor from Bajaur district, replacing Barrister Masood Kausar. The change in the Governor's House comes at a time when calls for engaging Taliban militants in peace negotiations have grown, with key opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-N urging the Pakistan People's Party government in Centre to accept the talks offer which the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan made through its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan administered the oath to the new governor at a ceremony at the Governor's House, which was attended by military, civilian officials and others. "Under our culture, we cannot ignore talks offer being made by anyone," Eng Shaukatullah told newsmen after the oath-taking ceremony. He said that talks with the Taliban would be preceded by an all-parties conference. He did not clarify if he was referring to the APC that the ruling Awami National Party was organising to pave the way for talks with the TTP.

The new governor reiterated, "We want solution to these issues peacefully and politically." The appointment of Eng Shaukatullah is seen as a "major development", as the calls for dialogue with the TTP gained momentum. Unconfirmed reports said that for the peace talks the Taliban had set the condition that the government should appoint a tribesman as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to handle the tribal areas on behalf of the president.

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