MIRANSHAH: The Pakistani Taleban Wednesday said they would not extend a cease-fire called to help negotiations with the government but said they were still committed to the peace talks process.
The Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) announced a one-month cease-fire at the start of March as the government sought a negotiated end to their bloody seven-year insurgency.
The TTP later extended the cease-fire, but complained there had been “complete silence” from the government since then and hinted that the military was trying to thwart talks.
“TTP’s central council has unanimously agreed not to extend the cease-fire,” the group said in a statement.
“However, the talks process will continue with complete sincerity and seriousness, and whenever a clear development comes from the government side, the TTP will not hesitate to respond with a serious move.”
The announcement comes three days after Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the process was about to enter a “comprehensive” phase.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government began negotiations with the TTP through intermediaries in February to try to end the Islamists struggle against the state, which has claimed thousands of lives.
The umbrella militant group has demanded the release of what they called “non-combatant” prisoners and the establishment of a “peace zone” where security forces would not be present.