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Taliban warns of attacks against PPP and ANP ahead of polls

Monday, 18 March 2013 - 11:32pm IST | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI
The Pakistani Taliban on Monday suspended their offer of talks with the government and warned of attacks against the Pakistan People's Party and Awami National Party, raising fears of violence during the upcoming general election.

The Pakistani Taliban on Monday suspended their offer of talks with the government and warned of attacks against the Pakistan People's Party and Awami National Party, raising fears of violence during the upcoming general election.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, spokesman of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said his group had decided to suspend the offer of talks as the Pakistan government and army were "not serious" about the proposed peace initiative.

In a brief video released by the militants, Ihsan claimed the security forces and government were not serious about a dialogue and TTP had decided to "postpone" the proposed talks.

With masked armed men standing behind him, Ihsan demanded the people should not participate in public gatherings and rallies organised by the PPP and ANP.

He claimed both the parties were on the Taliban's hit list, The Express Tribune reported on its website.

The website of the Dawn newspaper reported that Ihsan had warned people not to participate in the "un-Islamic democratic system which only serves the interests of infidels and enemies of Islam".

Earlier this year, several militant commanders, including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud, had offered peace talks to the government.

However, Mehsud had made it clear that his fighters would not disarm.

The PPP-led government, which completed its five-year term on March 16, had insisted that the Taliban should give up violence and announce a ceasefire before any talks. The demand was rejected by the militants.

Two recent conferences of political parties had recommended that the government should hold talks with the Taliban.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had recently formed a grand jirga to push the process for talks with the militants.

Rehman had claimed the Taliban had expressed confidence in the jirga that was trying to broker peace.

The Taliban have been blamed for a recent spurt in violence in the country's northwest and analysts said their latest threat against the PPP and ANP could mar the campaign for the upcoming polls.

Elections to the national and provincial assemblies are expected to be held sometime in May.


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