Islamabad: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have rejected a declaration adopted by leading political parties that called for negotiations to end terrorism, saying it was drawn up with an eye on the upcoming general election.

The banned Taliban further said that a conference of all political parties, which was held in Islamabad on Thursday to discuss the issue of terrorism, had failed to come up with a roadmap for peace talks with militants.

The militants contended that the conference organised by the Awami National Party was part of that party's "campaign for elections".

Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told the media: "We are still waiting for serious and meaningful talks with the government and the army."

"Frankly speaking, the (conference) didn't impress us as participants have failed to give any roadmap for peace talks with us," Ihsan said.

Ihsan said the absence of the Jamaat-e-Islami at the conference of political parties had raised a question mark about the meet.

He also criticised some journalists for "opposing Taliban's peace initiatives" and claimed they wanted to keep the "fire burning".

The Taliban have already rejected the government's demand that they should declare a month-long ceasefire before any peace talks.

Over the past few weeks, Taliban leaders have offered peace talks to the government but said they will not disarm.

Ihsan has also said that attacks by the militants will continue till a peace deal is finalised. Ihsan said the Taliban had offered peace talks in the "larger interest of Islam and Pakistan" but warned that the initiative should not be perceived as a sign of its weakness.

He criticised the Awami National Party for organising the conference on terrorism on Valentine’s Day.

"Organising the conference on Valentine's Day reflects the imperialist thinking of the ANP," he claimed.

Ihsan further claimed the ANP's leadership organised the conference on Valentine's Day to "win the sympathies of the West, particularly the United States".

The Taliban's Shura (council) had met on the directives of its chief Hakimullah Mehsud and discussed the declaration adopted at the conference of political parties.

"The Shura found nothing new in it. It was an old story," he said. The meeting of the Shura was attended by senior Taliban commanders from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas and they discussed several issues, including peace talks with the government, he said.

When the Taliban recently announced it was ready for talks with the government, it proposed that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Munawar Hasan should act as guarantors as the militants did not have confidence in the army.


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