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Pakistan frees prisoners and Taliban extends ceasefire

Mutual goodwill gestures aim to keep peace process alive

Pakistan frees prisoners and Taliban extends ceasefire

Taliban and government representatives at a meeting in March (file picture: AFP Photo) reporter, Islamabad

April 4, 2014

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The Pakistan Taliban today announced a 10-day extension to their month long ceasefire after Pakistan released 19 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture to save the peace process.

Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shah said on Friday that the extension will allow the government additional time to meet Taliban demands, such as establishing a “peace zone” in Waziristan to allow for free movement for the Taliban and its supporters.

The ceasefire extension comes a day after the Pakistan government released 19 non-combatant Taliban prisoners. Islamabad is trying to end a decade-long insurgency that has claimed some 50,000 lives in the South Asian country.

But Professor Ibrahim, a member of the Taliban dialogue committee, said the government’s response has not been satisfactory so far.

“We came to know about the release of Taliban’s prisoner only through the media,” Ibrahim told reporters in Peshawar.

He demanded that Taliban combatants also should be set free along with a further 700 non-combatants.

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