Malala Yousufzai, a teenaged Pakistani activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, has urged peace talks with the militant group.
Malala was attacked by a gunman on a school bus near her former home in Pakistan in October 2012. She was treated in the UK and now lives in Birmingham.
Malala said it was important that the Taliban discussed their demands.
"They must do what they want through dialogue," she said.
"Killing people, torturing people and flogging peopleis totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam."
While Pakistani politicians, better known for their vested interests and lack of action, have also calling for talks with the Taliban, the same suggestion from Malala sheds a different light on the gravity of the situation as she has been a victim of the militant group’s wrath.
Rudra Chaudhuri, a lecturer at Department of War Studies, King’s College London, terms dialogue with the Taliban as “no longer a matter for academic reflection, but political expediency.”
The Taliban itself has not been averse to discussions. They even opened up an office in Doha for talks with US and Afghan government; however, it closed down barely a month later.
On the other hand, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani (TTP) has said that Malala was not attacked for advocating education, but for going against Islam. The group also vowed to attack her again if they get a chance.
"We targeted Malala Yousafzai because she attacked Islam and make a jokes on Islam, if we find her again, we will definitely try to kill her and will feel proud over her death," TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said in a recent interview.
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“Islam prohibits killing women, except those that support the infidels in their war against our religion,” he added.
The Pakistani government seems hopeful that dialogue with the Taliban would produce positive results and restore peace in the country.
According to the country’s Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Taliban showed its willingness to hold dialogue and the government welcomed it and responded positively.
There are those, however, who feel that holding dialogue with the militants, who had been killing people, bombing cities and places of worship, is as good as surrendering before them.
Two senior Pakistani army officers and a soldier were recently killed by the Taliban followed by the assertion that the fight with the army will continue. Under normal circumstances, the army would have gone started military action, but the forces decided to give the civilian government a chance to go ahead with dialogues.
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Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP) has put forward two demands in order to move forward with the negotiations.
1. They want army troops to pull out from the entire tribal area of Pakistan
2. Their prisoners be released
According to them, such moves will “develop an atmosphere of trust and can remove doubts and suspicion.” To be specific, they say that “We are not going to waste precious time over useless negotiations, like those held in the past.”
The Taliban follow an extreme ideology and will not compromise on their beliefs. Those opposing the talks do not seem so wrong when one sees the Taliban maintaining their hostilities and complete disregard for human life.
As Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 put it, “There is no evidence that the Taliban are ready for diplomatic talks or negotiations. If anything, America must enter these talks with a healthy dose of skepticism, or not participate at all.”