Pak invites militant groups for peace talks

Islamabad: Pakistan today invited militant groups, including the Taliban, for peace talks, offering the banned groups that they would be delisted if they closed down their "militant wings". "If the proscribed organisations assure us that they have closed down their militant wings and abandoned extremism, then we would like to meet them in a few days," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters during an interaction here.

Malik said the government had been contacted by "several banned organisations that want to sit and talk". He did not identify these groups but said the government had even offered to hold talks with the Taliban if they gave up violence. "If they give up militancy we will talk to them as we are revising the list of proscribed groups," he said.

Pakistan has banned nearly 40 militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Sipah-e-Sahaba. However, many banned groups continue to be active with new names. The LeT currently operates as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation. The UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT after the Mumbai attacks.