Islamabad: The Pakistani government has urged the Taliban to announce a 30-day ceasefire as a precursor to peace talks which the banned terror group had offered earlier this month.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stepped up attacks in recent months, leading to fears that violence could mar general elections scheduled to take place by mid-May.
Ehsanullah Ehsan proposed talks with Islamabad provided that certain opposition politicians, including main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, act as guarantors.
Sharif welcomed the peace talks offer but refused to be a guarantor.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that 'first there should be ceasefire and peace talks can be held only after it,' the Express Tribune reports.
In December, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud said he was open to peace talks but refused to disarm.
Critics have accused the authorities of appeasement in trying to broker peace with the TTP in the past, charging that such deals give the militants time to regroup before launching further attacks, the paper said. (ANI)