[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Pakistani Taliban extends ceasefire

Armed group extends truce with government for 10 days day after 19 Taliban detainees are released.

Last updated: 04 Apr 2014 09:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Pakistani government and Taliban representatives have been holding talks since February [AFP]

The Pakistani Taliban has extended a March ceasefire until April 10, a spokesman said, following the release of a batch of low-level prisoners by the Pakistani government.

The government began negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) through intermediaries in February to try to end the group's bloody seven-year insurgency.

"We announce to extend the ceasefire till April 10 and TTP directs all Mujahideen to suspend their actions against government and security forces," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement on Friday.

A day earlier, the Interior Ministry said 19 Taliban prisoners it described as "non-combatant" had been released, in a move designed to invigorate a peace process with the group.

A spokesman for the ministry, Danial Gillani, told Al Jazeera that the prisoners had been released between March 21 and 28 in South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan.

The detainees all belong to the Mehsud tribe, which dominates South Waziristan. They were arrested "on the basis of suspicion and intelligence reports," Gillani said, adding that it was government policy that "innocent detainees be released after investigations".

The talks with the group centre on the fate of 800 prisoners being held by the government who the Taliban insists are "innocent" family members.

The state has demanded the release of several prominent figures being held by fighters including Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the son of assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

The highest government official in South Waziristan, Islam Zeb, said that the government had started releasing non-combatant prisoners to boost the reconciliation efforts. He said another 100 prisoners on the Taliban's list were being processed and would be released in the coming days.

There was no indication whether the TTP would make reciprocal prisoner releases.

Asad Hashim in Islamabad contributed to this report.

292

Source:
Al Jazeera And Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.