The release of Maulana Sufi Muhammad in Islamabad on Monday suggests a shift in relations between the new government and militants.
Earlier this week, Pakistani authorities freed a leading pro-Taliban militant who reportedly raised an army of thousands to oppose the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Observers say Maulana Sufi Muhammad's release from prison heralds a new era of negotiation between militant groups and the new government in Islamabad.
Following the release, a ruling party official in the new Pakistani government said that envoys were engaged in talks with the Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan, in an apparent bid to secure a peace deal, reports the Associated Press.
The tribe includes Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan's top Taliban leader who is accused of ties to al-Qaida.
Mehsud is wanted for a string of suicide attacks in Pakistan. The previous government has accused him of [former Prime Minister Benazir] Bhutto's assassination in December. Mehsud has reportedly denied involvement and Bhutto's party has not repeated the assertion.
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