Washington, Feb. 4 ANI | 9 months ago

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government is planning to hold preliminary talks with representatives of the Taliban, a step taken to address the country's most potent domestic threat.

The meeting is described as an introductory chat with the Islamist militant group, which has claimed more than 45,000 lives in decade-long insurgency.

If the first step towards the peace talks is unsuccessful, Sharif has signalled that he might order a military offensive to regain control of tribal areas under Taliban control, the Washington Post reports.

According to the report, many analysts caution that Sharif's government may not have much leeway to bargain with the Taliban.

Zahid Hussain, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, said Sharif would run into resistance from military leaders if he agreed to any release of prisoners.

Many military leaders are still angered that Taliban commanders freed under previous peace initiatives have returned to the battlefield, Hussain said.

He added that there have been several peace deals with the Taliban, and none of them have worked, and since the things have diametrically changed.

Sharif, who returned as prime minister in June after two previous terms in the 1990s, has made a negotiated settlement with the Pakistani Taliban a chief priority.

Sharif has appointed a four-member delegation to make a final push at peace talks.

(Posted on 04-02-2014)

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