Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that dialogue with the Taliban has started, a news agency reported.

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan high commission here, Sharif apprised Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the dialogue with the Taliban, relations with India, the energy situation and the economic reforms agenda of his government.

Nawaz Sharif has said that he hopes the dialogue with the Taliban will progress within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. He said the Pakistan government was making its counter-terrorism forces and intelligence agencies fully capable to root out extremism and terrorism from the country.

On Pakistan-India relations, Sharif said, "We have made India bashing a non-issue in Pakistan but unfortunately, Indian politicians are still engaged in unwarranted Pakistan bashing."

Meanwhile, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said consensus will be developed as the talks progress. "Discussions with the Taliban are in progress. The government is doing its utmost to establish peace in the region which is crucial for the country’s economic prosperity," he told reporters outside the Parliament.
    
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Thursday the government was in contact with the Taliban and would "soon start structured and formal" talks with them in line with a decision taken by an All-Parties Conference on September 9.
    
He gave no details about who was carrying out the talks and what was being discussed.
    
Sharif had also said that his government "could not wait and see the innocent people and members of law enforcement agencies being killed in the streets of Pakistan".
    
He was elected in part for promising to negotiate with militants in the northwest who have killed thousands of civilians and security personnel.
    
The issue of talks with the Taliban had also come up when Sharif met US President Barack Obama in Washington last month.
    
The Taliban had earlier demanded that the government should release all detained militants and that military units should leave the northwestern tribal regions. They also called for an end to US drone strikes.
    
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has threatened to block NATO supplies to Afghanistan if the US launches any drone strikes during the talks with the Taliban.

(Agencies)

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