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Historic peace talks with Pakistani Taliban delayed

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - 01:37

Feb. 4 - Much-anticipated peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban were delayed after government negotiators failed to show up for the first round of informal talks. Mana Rabiee reports.

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That's radical cleric Maulana Sami ul-Haq -- also called the Father of the Taliban. He was arriving on Tuesday for historic peace talks with the Pakistan government in the capital Islamabad. But already the first such talks are in shambles because the government negotiators failed to show up. It follows days of confusion over just who should represent the insurgents. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) MAULANA SAMI UL HAQ, TALIBAN NEGOTIATOR, SAYING: "I reached here exact at 2 pm and the two other honorable members also reached here. The government team called me on the way saying that their 4-member team held a meeting and that they said they are confused about our committee since it has been reduced to three members. So, for now, they cannot come." Pakistani Taliban insurgents are fighting to topple the central government and establish Islamic rule. Another cleric negotiating for the Taliban called on both sides to work together. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) RED MOSQUE CLERIC MAULANA ABDUL AZIZ SAYING: "We are bridging contact with the Taliban because they confide in us. So both of the committees should sit together, concentrate on this task, then something substantial may come out of it." (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) MAULANA SAMI UL HAQ, TALIBAN NEGOTIATOR, SAYING: "Our doors are still open for talks. It's a golden opportunity and we should not waste it." Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif surprised his country last week when he announced he'd give peace talks with the Taliban another try. There had been speculation his government was preparing a military offensive against them. It's unclear when the talks will resume.

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Historic peace talks with Pakistani Taliban delayed

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - 01:37