Pakistan's New Leaders Will Open Talks With Militants

New coalition will defy US, open negotiations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2008 7:31 AM CDT
A Pakistani police officer stands guard next to a billboard with the portrait of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, outside the Parliament House, March 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Pakistan's new coalition government says it will negotiate with the militants thought to be behind a wave of recent suicide bombings, the New York Times reports. The change in strategy will alarm US officials, who have recently stepped up strikes on suspected al-Qaeda strongholds using pilotless Predator drones. Pakistanis blame American strikes for the surge in bombings—17 since the beginning of 2008. 

The coalition aims to move away from Pervez Musharraf's Washington-friendly hardline approach to insurgents and find a Pakistani solution. "We are dealing with our own people,” one of the coalition leaders, former PM Nawaz Sharif, told the Times. “We will deal with them very sensibly. And when you have a problem in your own family, you don’t kill your own family. You sit and talk."