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Pakistan's Bhutto Lashes Out at 'Stone-Age' Taliban

Pakistan's Bhutto Lashes Out at 'Stone-Age' Taliban

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan’s assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, on Saturday slammed the Taliban for trying to drag the country back to the “stone-age.”

Addressing a gathering during the closing ceremony of a two-week cultural festival in his home province of Sindh, Bhutto also urged the country to rise up against the threats.

The start of 2014 has seen a surge in militant violence with more than 130 people killed.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has been under fire from political opponents for failing to mount a strong response to the upsurge in attacks.

The government has for months said it favoured talks with the Taliban but 25-year-old Zardari has spoken in favour of military action against them.

Former premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 by the Pakistani Taliban after leaving a campaign rally of her Pakistan People’s Party.

Her husband and Bilawal’s father Asif Ali Zardari was president from 2008-2013.

The Taliban’s demands include the nationwide imposition of sharia law and an end to US drone strikes, conditions the government and army are unlikely to be able to meet.

Nearly 7,000 people have been killed in the insurgency by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) since it began in 2007, according to an AFP tally.

Stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan is seen as important to neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led NATO troops are pulling out after more than a decade of war.

Washington has said it is watching the peace talks with the Taliban closely.

It has long been pushing Pakistan to take action against militants using Pakistan’s tribal areas as a base to attack NATO forces across the border.

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