Pakistani leader to talk with Afghan Taliban in Qatar

Islamabad, Feb 10 (IANS) Pakistani political leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman has gone on a "private visit" to Qatar to hold talks with the Afghan Taliban, a media report said Sunday.

Rehman, the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F), was playing a "pivotal role" in the Afghan peace process, party leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

Ahmed said the use of force was not a solution to the conflict between the Taliban and the military, and urged them to sit on the negotiating table to restore peace in the region.

The leader also urged the Pakistani government and the army to take seriously the offer for talks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

JUI-F spokesman Abdul Jalil Jan, however, only said that Rehman had gone abroad on a "private visit".

Western media reports say the US is in contact with the Taliban in Qatar to persuade the outfit to initiate negotiations with the Afghan government, as Washington prepares for the withdrawal of troops by 2014.

Another party leader, Sirajul Haq, said the Pakistani government was looking towards the US for a "signal" after the negotiation offer by the Taliban.

"The government is not sincere in peace negotiations and is waiting for dictation from Americans," he said.

He said if the US could hold talks with the Taliban, there was no reason why Pakistan could not do so.

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard 2 hours 27 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard

    Here are the top trending stories of the day in case you missed them:

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 14 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 16 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying
    Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying

    The supermodel said that she will take her daughter in a vacation but will try to avoid boarding a plane

  • One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks
    One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks

    South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. "The ferry is almost completely submerged," Lee said, adding that a detachment of South Korean Navy SEALS were taking part in the rescue. Of the 450 passengers on board the ferry bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, 325 were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul. The 6,825-tonne ferry, which had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, ran into trouble some 20 kilometres (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong.