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Ready to mediate between Taliban and Pak: Imran Khan

December 30, 2009 15:09 IST

Pakistani Taliban commanders have contacted cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to broker peace talks with the Pakistani government, but he said he would act as a mediator only if authorities give their consent.

"The Taliban have contacted me for peace negotiations with the government. But I will only play a mediator's role if the government gives its consent," Khan said, but did not mention which faction of the local Taliban had contacted him.

Khan, who heads the Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, has opposed military operations against the Taliban and other militant groups.

He had earlier offered to act as a mediator between the Taliban and government. There had been no response from the government to his offer to mediate with the Taliban.

Some leaders of the ruling Pakistan People's Party and sections of the media have criticised Khan for what they describe as his "pro-Taliban" stance.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik too has made it clear that the federal government has no intention of holding talks with the Taliban or other terrorists.

 "They must surrender before any peace talks can be initiated," he said.

However, the Taliban in the northwestern Swat valley had welcomed Khan's offer to broker peace talks.

Khan has also called on the PPP-led government to convene a meeting of all political parties to discuss challenges confronting the country.

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