World Bulletin/News Desk
Pakistan’s provincial government has offered to open an office for the Taliban to accelerate the ongoing peace process, the Pakistani government said Monday.
The government of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province has offered the Taliban a "political" office in Peshawar, the provincial capital bordering neighboring Afghanistan, to accelerate the ongoing peace process between the government and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a consortium of different rebel groups in the country.
The provincial government is ready to provide all possible support in connection with the opening of the Taliban's political office, Shiraz Paracha, the spokesman of the chief minister of KP province, said on Monday.
The offer is seen to follow the opening of the Afghan Taliban office in Doha in June 2013 in connection with talks between the United States and the Taliban to reach a peace agreement before the proposed 2014 pullout. However, the office only lasted no more than a week following serious objections by Afghan President Hamid Karzai who preferred direct talks between his government and the Taliban.
This is not the first time the KP government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan has made such an offer. It made the same offer three months ago, which invoked a barrage of criticism from left-wing parties which oppose dialogue with the Taliban on the grounds that the offer would be tantamount to recognizing the validity of the insurgent group.
"This does not mean we recognize or reject any group or individual. It simply means that we want to accelerate the peace process, and the opening of the political office will help in this regard," Paracha said and added: "We cannot negotiate with invisible people. If the state of Pakistan is negotiating with them (Taliban) then, there is no harm in the opening of their office," he said. Paracha believes that the setting up of a Taliban office will "dilute the simmering level of mistrust between the two sides."
Paracha maintains that there are examples around, including Northern Ireland, whereby the British government not only talked and struck a peace deal with the Irish Republican Army which it once declared as terrorists.
The ongoing peace process aims at cutting a deal to end the 11-year-old insurgency that killed thousands in this South Asian nuclear Muslim nation. On January 29, Pakistan, a close ally with the U.S. in its so-called 'war against terror,' set up a four-member government negotiating committee to contact the Taliban.
Before the TTP announced a month-long ceasefire on March 1, the process struck an impasse in February after negotiations began in January following two deadly terrorist attacks on security forces killing 36 personnel.
Last Mod: 10 Mart 2014, 13:27