New Pakistan Leaders to Seek Talks With Militants

Election victors continue to work for coalition government
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 3:28 AM CST
New Pakistan Leaders to Seek Talks With Militants
Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif raises his fist during a address to supporters at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008. Sharif, who was ousted in Musharraf's 1999 coup, suggested that the Pakistani president should listen to the "verdict" of the people in the Monday...   (Associated Press)

The victors in the Pakistan elections favor negotiations with al-Qaeda and the Taliban over  military confrontation, reports the New York Times. “We will have a dialogue with those who are up in the mountains,” said Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. “We want to take all those along who are working against Pakistan.”

Zardari said leaders from his Pakistan People's Party would seek talks with the militants in tribal areas along the Afghan border, where the Taliban and al-Qaeda have strongholds, and with nationalist militants in Baluchistan Province. He also said leaders plan to restore freedom to the media and independence to the judiciary. Zardari is trying to form a coalition government with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after resounding parliamentary wins by the two oppostion parties, leaving the future of President Pervez Musharraf in doubt. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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