Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made an offer to the Taliban insurgency to begin a dialogue, although he threatened "full use of force" against militants if they rebuff his initiative.
"Like every Pakistani, I want an early end to this bloodshed, whether it is through the process of dialogue or heavy use of the state force," Sharif said in his first speech to the nation since taking office on June 5.
The prime minister, whose conservative Pakistan Muslim League-N overwhelmingly won the May general elections, acknowledged that Pakistan's security apparatus has failed in the fight against the insurgency in recent years.
Sharif, who on the 1990s was premier on two occasions but did not finish his terms, emphasized that the policy of reconciliation he proclaimed a few months ago "is not confined just to political parties."
"Wisdom demands that we follow a path where we minimize the loss of innocent lives," he said. "I take a step forward and invite for dialogue all those elements who have unfortunately adopted the path of extremism."
The prime minister extended an olive branch to the insurgency in Pakistan after they dramatically increased their activities starting in 2007, the year in which the TTP was founded, a movement that gathers together various Taliban factions.
The TTP has been behind the greater portion of the hundreds of terrorist attacks that have been staged around the country since then.
Some analysts expected that with Sharif's moderate Islamist government the Taliban would moderate their activities, but that has not occurred. EFE