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Pakistan's military and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban

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Now, Pakistan must finalize the “proper mechanism” for engaging the militants into negotiations.

Pakistan's military has deployed around 150,000 troops in the semi-autonomous tribal belt along Afghan border and is engaged in fighting with Al Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban militants, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

This military activity has carried a heavy political cost, analysts say, as Pakistani Taliban militants have carried out a series of deadly suicide attacks against sensitive military installations, including its headquarters and against the Mehran naval base near Karachi, in a wave of violence that has claimed thousands of lives.

“When America is adopting the policy of reconciliation with Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, why can’t we go for dialogue with militant groups in Pakistan?” said Haider Abbas Rizvi, a key legislator of the powerful Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movment (MQM), after attending the Islamabad conference.

The negotiations will be held only with those militants who recognize Pakistan’s constitution, Mr. Rizvi said, and not with foreign militants. Pakistan’s soil will not be allowed to use for any kind of terrorism, he added.

“Military operations are not the solution," said Imran Khan, a former cricket star-turned-politician, known for his strong anti-US views. "It didn’t work for America in Afghanistan, and it won’t be effective even today. Time has come to talk peace so let’s give peace a chance.”

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