Setting the terms for peace talks with the Taliban, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said the militants will have to "renounce" violence and recognise the country's constitution before engaging in a dialogue with his government.
At the same time, he voiced fears that continued US drone attacks would wreck his policy to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban, a group closely linked to Al Qaeda. "Once the talks start, then of course, we consider them (drones) as something that has the ability to break the talks, which must be avoided at all costs," Sharif said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.
The Sharif government had offered peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban but a spate of attacks, including the one that killed a senior Army General and the Peshawar church attack, has put it on the backfoot. Sharif, in the interview, laid out the terms that would be available to the militants. "They will have to renounce terrorism," said Sharif adding, "They (Pakistani Taliban) will have to abide by the constitution of Pakistan."
"It's been often said by them that they don't recognise the constitution of the country. But the constitution has to be recognised. If we agree on addressing this terrorism, they will have to be disarmed, lay down their arms," he said.