Taliban welcomes offer of talks

A spokesman hails repeal of Pakistan tribal law and insists Sharia should be used.

    Gilani has said the offer will be on condition that fighters give up arms and renounce violence [AFP]

    Democratic era
     
    Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, on Saturday urged the armed groups to renounce violence and offered to hold talks with those who give up arms and join the new democratic era.
     
    "We are ready to talk to all those people who give up arms and are ready to embrace peace," Gilani said to loud support from politicians while addressing parliament.
     
    Omar said: "The government should immediately say goodbye to pro-US policies because there is no good in them for the government and the people of Pakistan."
     
    He also welcomed the repeal of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a colonial era legal code for Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, and said that Islamic law be enforced in its place.
     
    "The prime minister has won the hearts of the tribal people by ending the FCR, but the government should, keeping in view the wishes of tribal people, immediately announce enforcement of [an] Islamic system," he said.
     
    Sharia
     
    Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said the movement's demand was a "tricky issue".
     
    "For them [Taliban] to act in a state within a state is going to be difficult. But if the demand of the people where they are based is the imposition of Sharia, then the government could grant it," he said.
     
    Pakistan has been a bulwark in the US-led fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
     
    The country has suffered an unprecedented wave of violence including suicide bombings in the past year blamed on al-Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban.
     
    Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president and a key US ally, lost elections last month, and Gilani on Tuesday told George Bush, the US president, that a broader approach to the "war on terror" was necessary, including political solutions.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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