Church bombing spurs Pakistan to give up on Taliban peace talks
By McClatchy Newspapers
Published: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called off plans for unconditional peace talks with terrorists after a series of deadly attacks that culminated in Sunday's suicide bombing of a church, which killed 83 people.
“We had proposed peace talks with the Taliban in good faith, but because of this attack, the government is unable to move forward with what it planned and envisaged,” a visibly upset Sharif said late on Sunday on a flight to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.
Peace talks with militants from Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the formal name for the Pakistani Taliban, were a key part of Sharif's platform in the campaign leading up to May's parliamentary elections, which his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party won. The Taliban seemed to favor his proposal, excluding from their pre-election terror campaign candidates from Sharif's party and another party that had favored peace talks, the Movement for Justice Party.
But since Sharif won approval for the talks in September from leaders of the country's political parties, the Taliban have stepped up attacks, apparently considering the idea of talks as a sign of weakness within Sharif's government and of division with Pakistan's powerful military, which has opposed negotiations.
Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud ordered the intensification of the militants' campaign of attacks and on Sept. 14 issued two conditions for talks: the release of 50 jailed commanders and the withdrawal from the northwest tribal areas of 150,000 Pakistani troops deployed there.
Mehsud incensed the military by assassinating a two-star army general the next day in the northern Dir district, where Pakistani troops have been fighting Pakistani Taliban factions that fled there in 2009.
The assassination of Maj. Gen. Sanaullah Niazi strained relations between the military and Sharif, whose government had failed even to find intermediaries capable of setting up a dialogue with the militants.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russians adamant about vote
- Malaysia loses contact with plane carrying 239
- Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 aboard feared lost
- Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend tells court at his murder trial of guns, temper
- Al-Qaida’s grip transforms, terrorizes eastern Syrian city
- Dutch pot problems spill into its streets
- In North Korea, voting’s really a breeze: You must vote and you get 1 candidate
- Saudis name terrorist groups
- China defends burgeoning military
- Terrorists attack Pakistan court, killing 11
- History may turn on a shilling