Islamabad Hides Behind Taliban Talks

Pakistan and Taliban representatives have started peace talks. Pakistani media debate “whether a military operation or negotiations are the best solution to the Taliban insurgency,” reflecting deep divide between Pakistani secular liberals and religious conservatives, writes Shams uz Zaman for Asia Times. He suggests that Pakistan’s liberalism represents wealth and double standards rather than human rights and freedom of speech. Pakistan’s troubled economy cannot afford military operations to eliminate the Taliban. Pakistanis cannot be sure if the negotiators truly represent the Taliban or the Pakistani military, whether either side can control its members. Already, the Taliban negotiators impose conditions – demanding that Pakistan embrace sharia law, despite lack of support from most Pakistanis, and withdrawal of US forces from neighboring Afghanistan. Meanwhile, US media report the Karzai administration is holding secret talks with other Taliban representatives, though the Taliban deny this. Karzai has delayed signing an agreement that would keep limited foreign troops in Afghanistan after 2014 and insists it can wait until after April elections. The confusion around peace talks, the strident demands, high expectations for stalemate and more violence may be but a prelude to more war. – YaleGlobal

Islamabad Hides Behind Taliban Talks

Pakistan has begun peace talks with Taliban representatives, but Pakistanis are left to wonder if either side can bring its members on board
Shams uz Zaman
Friday, February 7, 2014
Shams uz Zaman holds an MPhil degree in Strategic and Nuclear Studies from NDU Islamabad. He writes frequently in Pakistani newspapers, magazines and research journals. He is co-author of the book Iran and the Bomb: Nuclear Club Busted.
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