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Taliban ready for 'purposeful dialogue'

20 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has offered peace talks to the government amidst new threats of more attacks.

However, the militant group asked the government to "prove its authority and sincerity with dialogue process". In a letter issued to media on Sunday, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said that Taliban were ready for a meaningful dialogue. He added that the Taliban were ready for talks, however, the government should show its powers and sincerity. He also accepted responsibility for many terror attacks, including that on the CID Headquarters in Karachi and Mehran base.

Taliban said that the Bannu attack was carried out by TTP's Mehsud wing in revenge for Waliur Rehman's death, the Taliban No 2 who was killed in a US drone attack last year. "TTP courageously accepts responsibility of attack on security forces in Bannu cantt that was carried out by one of the brave comrade of TTP and killed army personnel who were ready to subject cruelty on Muslims of Waziristan," said a TTP statement. The group paid tribute to Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman who, it said, played the leading role in shifting this "Renaissance of Caliphate (Ihya e Khilafat)" war in every nook and corner of the country.

"TTP wants to give clear-cut message to people of Pakistan that our war is for implementation of shariah and we will never give up principles of shariah," the statement read. Talking to media from an undisclosed location, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid and senior leader Azam Tariq said Taliban were ready for meaningful, serious and result-oriented dialogue.

They said they believe in the utility of dialogue and had never refused negotiations. They said they rejected the dialogue earlier because, according to them, the government was neither sincere nor powerful enough. They said if the government wanted to create a peaceful and trustworthy environment, it would have to announce a ceasefire. In such a case, they said they can also review their activities.

The Taliban leaders said they strongly condemn the blast at Peshawar Tableegi Markaz, saying they do not attack Muslims. They claimed secret agencies carry out such acts to bring a bad name to Taliban. They said that SSP Chaudhry Aslam met his fate and they are proud that a case was framed against the TTP for his murder. In reply to a question, Azam Tariq said that the government considers propaganda on media as part of its war and had never made serious efforts for talks with the TTP.

End.

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