Pakistan opposition chief backs talks with Taliban

July 3, 2010 19:16

ISLAMABAD  — Pakistan's top opposition leader said Saturday that the government should negotiate with the country's Taliban militants to ease the relentless security crisis in the nuclear-armed, US-allied nation.

Nawaz Sharif made the comments two days after a pair of suicide bombers killed 42 people at a famed Sufi shrine in the province controlled by his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N. The party is considered more religiously conservative and aligned with pro-Taliban parties than the Pakistan People's Party, which runs the federal government.

The comments also come as Pakistan tries to weigh in on reconciliation efforts between Afghanistan's government, the US and the Afghan Taliban. Still, the ruling party in Islamabad has not made the same push in Pakistan for quite some time — at least not overtly — and its past peace deals with Pakistani militant groups have usually collapsed.

Sharif said Islamabad shouldn't wait for directives from Washington on how to deal with its problems.

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