ISLAMABAD: Maulana Samiul Haq who has close ties to the Taliban said Wednesday he would no longer act as a government-backed peace broker with the militants after airstrikes killed 40 people in a tribal district.
Samiul Haq, who heads the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary and is often referred to as the “Father of the Taliban”, was given the task of initiating peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban in December by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose government announced its talks policy in September and began making preliminary contact with the Taliban’s leadership, but the initiative ended after a US drone strike killed then-Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in November.
“The government does not seem serious and concerned. I had requested them to avoid a military operation and use of force but yesterday it started bombing in North Waziristan and tribal areas,” Haq, who is also chief of his own faction of the religious Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) party, said in a statement sent to AFP. The air strikes in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions on Tuesday were retaliation for two major Taliban attacks on military targets in as many days.
But Haq, whose seminary has awarded Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar an honorary doctorate, said more fighting was not the answer. “Both sides (Taliban and government) are in a state of war. Innocent citizens and soldiers are dying,” he said in the statement.
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