TEMPO.CO, Islamabad - The first round of the long-awaited peace talks between the Taliban insurgents and the Pakistan government has begun in Islamabad yesterday. The plans which suffer persistent delays start growing doubts over the chance of their success.
The insurgents have been battling to topple Pakistan's government and establish strict Islamic rule for a long time. But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes both sides are now ready to find a negotiated settlement and stop fighting.
"The progress of the talks will be submitted to the prime minister," said a government official, who declined to be identified, as he was not authorized to comment on the talks.
Several earlier efforts at striking peace deals with the militants have failed. The last negotiation plan failed to commence on Tuesday.
Dawn newspaper, quoting its source, said the negotiations on Thursday went well. Both negotiators were nowhere to be contacted to comment on the issue of the first meeting.
Many in Pakistan doubt that talking to an insurgent group that stages almost daily attacks will succeed.
Militants have stepped up attacks against security forces since the beginning of the year, prompting the army to send fighter jets to bomb their strongholds in the ethnic Pashtun region of North Waziristan, along the Afghan border.
REUTERS | ABDUL MANAN