Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said his government was sincere about holding peace talks with the Taliban, after rebel chief Hakeemullah Mehsud complained no serious steps had been taken to open a dialogue.
Speaking after a security meeting in Peshawar, Sharif said progress was being made on the issue of opening negotiations.
His statement came a day after the broadcast of a BBC interview in which Mehsud said he was ready to sit down for talks but the government had “not taken any serious steps.”
“The government is sincere about solving the issue of terrorism through talks with Taliban,” Sharif told the meeting in Peshawar. “We are seriously implementing the decision jointly taken by the All Parties’ Conference (APC) for dialogue with Taliban.”
The main Pakistani political parties last month backed a government proposal to seek negotiations with the militants, who have been waging a bloody insurgency against the state since 2007.
But the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction, a loose coalition of militant groups led by Mehsud since 2009, responded with a list of preconditions. These included a government ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from the tribal areas along the Afghan border where the militants have hideouts.