No ceasefire during Ramzan, says Pakistan

Rehman Malik

Malik declared that the security forces would continue their operations against the Taliban even during the holy month of Ramzan, considered a time of peace.

His comments assumes significance as Pakistan Army is poised to strike against Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds in Sacristan and is continuing operations against militants in Swat, Dir and Buner.

The minister ruled out a brief halt in the fighting even as a powerful North Waziristan-based Taliban faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur declared a 40-day unilateral ceasefire for Ramzan and asked its fighters to stop attacks on security forces and government facilities.

"There will not be a ceasefire during Ramzan. We are not interested in a ceasefire. They haven't kept their commitment in the past. We will continue targeted actions against the Taliban," Malik told CNN.

The Interior Minister said the government has not accepted this ceasefire as the Taliban violated accords with the authorities in the past.

Malik also said that the father-in-law of Baithullah Mehsud and some of his relatives had been killed by the militants after being accused of providing information that led to the rebel commander's death in a US drone attack on August 5.

"I got the information from those resources which gave me the information of Baithullah's death," Malik said.

The Taliban had killed Mehsud's father-in-law Malik Ikramuddin, his son, a brother and a nephew on charges of spying, he added.

Pakistani and US officials say they are certain Mehsud was killed in the drone attack though this has been denied by the Taliban.

Ikramuddin was considered a close aide of Mehsud and reports have suggested he was trying to broker a peace deal between his son-in-law and top security officials.

The military claims it has killed over 1800 militants since operations were launched against the Taliban in Swat and other parts of Malakand division in the country's northwest in May. Some 300 security personnel have also died in the fighting.

Malik also said law enforcement agencies had foiled plans by terrorists and suicide bombers to attack the parliament building, an intelligence agency and other federal institutions during the past month.

Authorities had arrested three men with suicide jackets who were plotting to carry out attacks, he said.

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