Pakistan-Taliban peace talks due to startAgence France-France . Islamabad / New Age Online
Negotiators representing the Pakistani government and Taliban insurgents are to meet for preliminary peace talks later Tuesday following a spate of killings, but there is scepticism about their chances of success.
Two teams, nominated by the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), are due to gather in Islamabad at 2:00 pm (0900 GMT) to chart a ‘roadmap’ for talks.
In a surprise move last week prime minister Nawaz Sharif named a team to begin dialogue with the militants, who have been waging a violent insurgency since 2007.
Many observers had been anticipating a military offensive against TTP strongholds in Pakistan's tribal areas, following a bloody start to the year. More than 110 people were killed in militant attacks in January, many of them military personnel.
Critics have accused Sharif's government of dithering in response to the resurgent violence and media held out scant hope for the talks.
The TTP has said in the past that it opposes democracy and wants Islamic sharia law imposed throughout Pakistan, while the government has stressed the country's constitution must remain paramount.
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