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Pakistan Taliban agrees to extend ceasefire

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

The month-long ceasefire announced by the Pakistani Taliban, which ends tomorrow, will be extended as the government and the banned group work towards a solution to end the menace of violence here.

The two parties agreed to carry forward the peace process at a joint meeting presided over by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan last evening and attended by members of the committees of the government and the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Talking to reporters after the meeting, the head of the TTP committee, Maulana Samiul Haq, confirmed that the ceasefire would continue beyond March 31.

But he did not say whether the ceasefire was still "temporary" or "permanent".

Khan later called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House and briefed him about the latest developments and progress on dialogue with the hardcore Taliban.

The Taliban and government committees are most likely to meet again in the coming week and will proceed to North Waziristan for further talks that will take place at a different location.

Pakistani state negotiators had on March 26 flown down to North Waziristan to hold the first-ever direct talks with the Taliban. The talks were held to find a solution to the decade-long insurgency that has claimed over 40,000 lives.

The talks struck an impasse last month after a faction of the banned militant group killed 23 kidnapped Pakistani paramilitary soldiers, resulting in multiple targeted airstrikes by the military against militant hideouts in the tribal region of the northwest.

The Taliban then announced a month-long ceasefire which was reciprocated by the government.

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First Published: Sun, March 30 2014. 19:05 IST