Hardliners,Pak Taliban meet to talk peace

Religious hardliners and the Pakistani Taliban on Thursday held talks aimed at restoring peace in the restive Swat valley...

Written by Rezaul H Laskar | Islamabad | Published: February 20, 2009 2:00 am

Religious hardliners and the Pakistani Taliban on Thursday held talks aimed at restoring peace in the restive Swat valley in the wake of an agreement envisaging the enforcement of Shariah in the region.

Representatives of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi,which signed the agreement with Pakistani authorities on Monday for implementing Shariah laws in Swat and nearby areas,met Taliban leader Maulana Fazalullah for talks.

TNSM chief Sufi Mohammad arrived in Swat on Wednesday to spearhead efforts aimed at restoring peace and convincing the Taliban to lay down their arms.

The TNSM representatives and Fazlullah met at an undisclosed location in Swat,Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said,adding the two sides are discussing steps to restore durable peace to implement the Islamic judicial system.

The Taliban are currently observing a 10-day ceasefire to facilitate the peace talks. However,a Geo TV correspondent was killed in Swat valley by unidentified gunmen.

Twenty-eight-year-old Musa Khan Khel’s death has triggered a wave of anger among journalists,who condemned the killings of journalists in the troubled region,which they said,was an attempt to scare them away.

The journalists,wearing black bands on their arms and foreheads,shouted: “We want justice,we want Musa Khan Khel’s killers arrested,we salute Musa Khan Khel’s courage,” standing outside the Governor’s house in Peshawar.

Executive Editor of Geo TV Hamid Mir said they would not be cowed down and will not stop reporting from the tense Swat region and demanded that the killing be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Marches were taken out in Peshawar,Banu,Nowshera and Mansher — all in NWFP.

Mir said Musa’s killing was “deliberate and planned” as his body had 32 gunshot wounds.

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