"Unofficial talks between the government side and Taliban are in progress," Information Minister Pervez Rashid said. The government was exploring all options to restore lasting peace in the country and was in contact with Taliban at different levels, Rashid told a daily.
   
He endorsed a statement made by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that a formula had been chalked out for holding formal talks with Taliban within a month.
   
"Maulana Sahib is a responsible person and whatever he said is correct," he said. Rehman had on Friday said that a forum comprising authoritative and responsible people was being formed for holding talks with Taliban within a month.
   
The information minister did not say at what level talks had been initiated and with which group of militants. But, he said the government was ready to negotiate with any group of Taliban interested in holding talks.
   
"I cannot say with which group of Taliban we are holding talks because today we are talking with two groups and if another group wants to join we will welcome it too," he said.
   
He said the government's main objective was to restore peace and it would do everything possible to achieve that. Asked if the government had taken opposition into
confidence before going for negotiations with Taliban, he said the opposition was always consulted during formal and informal meetings and, particularly, in the Parliament House.

 (Agencies)

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Pakistan government in contact with Taliban for peace

           

Islamabad: Back channel talks between the ruling PML-N and the Taliban are under way to work out a peace formula to end the cycle of violence in Pakistan, a media

report said.

           

"Unofficial talks between the government side and Taliban are in progress," Information Minister Pervez Rashid said. The government was exploring all options to restore lasting peace in the country and was in contact with Taliban at different levels, Rashid told a daily.

           

He endorsed a statement made by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that a formula had been chalked out for holding formal talks with Taliban within a month.

           

"Maulana Sahib is a responsible person and whatever he said is correct," he said. Rehman had on Friday said that a forum comprising authoritative and responsible people was being formed for holding talks with Taliban within a month.

           

The information minister did not say at what level talks had been initiated and with which group of militants. But, he said the government was ready to negotiate with any group of Taliban interested in holding talks.

           

"I cannot say with which group of Taliban we are holding talks because today we are talking with two groups and if another group wants to join we will welcome it too," he said.

           

He said the government's main objective was to restore peace and it would do everything possible to achieve that. Asked if the government had taken opposition into

confidence before going for negotiations with Taliban, he said the opposition was always consulted during formal and informal meetings and, particularly, in the Parliament House.

 

Pakistan, Taliban, Pervez Rashid, PML-N, terrorism in Pakistan, Pak violence