Pakistan’s new government is near a ceasefire deal with militants, the New York Times reports, as a top rebel commander has ordered his forces to stop attacks. Baitullah Mehsud, thought to have organized the December assassination of Benazir Bhutto, ordered a ban on “provocative activities for the sake of peace," in leaflets distributed in the Afghan border region, Reuters notes.
Critics charge that this is an old tactic: Mehsud’s forces will play along with the peace process while building their military strength. But officials from Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party ask for confidence: "It'll take time, they must trust us," said one minister. The proposed deal, the Times reports, would stop militant activity in exchange for Pakistani troops' withdrawal from certain tribal areas.