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October 3, 2013

Ceasefire sans halt to drone strikes unacceptable: TTP

October 3, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has made it clear that a ceasefire by the government for talks will not be acceptable without a complete halt to drone attacks.
The TTP spokesperson, Shahidullah Shahid, called this correspondent from an undisclosed location in South Wiziristan Agency to clarify the stance of his outfit about the ceasefire offer. “The TTP stands for a complete halt to drone attacks simultaneously with the ceasefire as in its opinion these strikes cannot be made without the tacit permission and knowledge of the government,” he said.
“Right now while I am talking to you, I am told that there are three drones hovering over the skies and a state of fear prevails everywhere which also hinders us from free movement as well as meeting each other to form our negotiating team for the talks,” he said.
Shahidullah Shahid further said, “We want to impress upon the government that the drone attacks have already aggravated the situation and they will continue to the aggravated if these are not stopped forthwith.”
Meanwhile, Senator Mushahidullah Khan is of the view that there is no alternative to holding talks on the table after having fought a war for well over nine years and using military might against the fighters.
Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has also demanded an end to drone attacks to pave the way for smooth talks and to reach a permanent truce with the Taliban.
AFP adds: The TTP spokesman said any ceasefire must include an end to the US drone attacks in the tribal areas, which have been targeting suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants since 2004.
“A ceasefire alone is not sufficient. The stoppage of drone strikes is essential, otherwise — if drones continue to strike — we will not accept the ceasefire,” Shahid told AFP.The TTP’s demand adds a new challenge to the already bleak prospects for talks, hit hard by three attacks in a week in Peshawar, which killed 142 people — the vast

majority civilians.Despite protests over power, petrol hikes, ECC satisfied IMF targets have been achieved

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