Lahore: A senior commander of the Punjabi Taliban – Ismatullah Muawiya – has welcomed the government’s recent offer to hold peace talks.
Ismatullah Muawiya, a principal ally of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and leader of the so-called Punjabi Taliban, said in a statement Thursday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demonstrated political maturity by reiterating his offer to hold peace negotiations in a speech over the weekend.
In a his first nationally televised speech to the nation after coming to power in the May 11 general elections, Prime Minister Sharif had offered dialogue to “those elements which unfortunately have taken the course of extremism”.
Muawiya said militants in Pakistan should respond positively if the government is serious about resolving the conflict. Muawiya is believed to be the head of the Taliban’s faction of fighters from Punjab province.
On August 12, Saach.TV received a letter allegedly issued by Ismatullah Muawiya in which he warned PML-N government of taking any coercive actions against Taliban. Viewers can read that piece here: http://www.saach.tv/2013/08/12/punjabi-taliban-sends-warning-to-pml-n-pti/