ISLAMABAD - The Pakistani Taliban on Saturday refused to lay down their weapons and accept the Constitution as asked by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said Mr Sharif has no authority to hold talks and reiterated its demand for the army to pull out from tribal areas, release of its prisoners and an end to US drone strikes.
“We have already expressed our reservations. The government does not have the authority to hold dialogue. The authority lies with the army or with the US,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in an interview. If the government can somehow take steps to prove that it has the authority to hold talks then the group will consider initiating a dialogue, he said. “Nawaz Sharif has proven he has no authority. When he was in Pakistan he was saying one thing, now when he has gone to America, he is talking about preconditions for talks,” Shahid said.
“He is talking about laying down arms and accepting the Constitution. If we were willing to lay down arms and accept the Constitution, there would be no need to have any kind of dialogue.”