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First disarm,then only talk possible: Pak Minister

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has received messages from extremist elements for holding peace talks but a dialogue can commence only if they disarm themselves, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said today. "The government has received messages from extremist elements. However, dialogue would start when they disarm themselves," Malik told reporters at the airport in Quetta soon after his arrival in the southwestern city.

He however did not give details but said the government is serious about making progress in dialogue with militants for the cause of peace though no talks would be held if the extremists continued wielding arms. Some anti-peace forces are involved in hatching conspiracies and activities to destabilise Pakistan, he claimed.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had recently offered peace talks to all militant groups, including the Taliban, if they "decommissioned" themselves.

Meanwhile, responding to a question, Malik said he had written a letter to the Chief Secretary of Punjab province to detain Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Ishaq Malik, who was recently released from prison, and to arrest his nine associates. Malik had been detained and further action was being taken in this regard, he said.

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